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The Globe and Mail

Hey Mr. Potato Head, have you been working out?

A character representing the new Mr. Potato Head toy poses with the actual toy, which will have legs and a slimmer tater body, at Hasbro's American International Toy Fair showroom in New York, February 10, 2011. Hasbro will introduce the new version of the iconic toy at the Fair, which opens this weekend, with availability this Fall.

RAY STUBBLEBINE/REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine/Hasbro/handout

A slimmer version of the iconic toy was unveiled at New York's International Toy Convention last week, Time magazine reports. And for the first time, the spud even wears pants (although, being a potato, he doesn't still doesn't quite have a discernible waist.)

The new line, called Active Adventures, includes a noticeably less rotund Mrs. Potato Head as well.

According to Time, manufacturer Hasbro explains the change as merely a fun "extreme bake-over," but the magazine suggests the beloved tater family is feeling the pressure to project a healthier, more physically active image - or possibly even something a little more sinister.

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"Obviously there's a culture-approved idea of fitness that is now part of the bigger picture of what that culture says is beautiful," Washington, D.C.-based child psychiatrist Jean Thomas tells Time. "Mr. Potato Head maybe won't be the same kind of icon as Barbie for slimness but it does add to the cultural pressure of 'slim is better.'"

Although there is a growing trend amongst toy-makers to design toys that encourage physical activity, playthings that simply project a thin image is a negative development, Dr. Thomas says.

"It's silly on one hand, but worrisome that the culture basically has suggested to the toy companies that they should get on the bandwagon and make slim beautiful."

What do you think?

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