Monday, February 10, 2014

Is It Time for the Biggest Loser to Disappear?


The web is buzzing with conversation following the final episode of “The Biggest Loser”. The season ended with a jaw dropping win by Rachel Fredrickson, who shed 60% of her body weight. The young contestant is a former competitive swimmer and went down from 260 to 105 pounds in a matter of months. She took home  $250,000 jackpot.
But what did the viewers take home. How does an overweight person feel when she watches the program? Does it motivate, or does it create negativity?
There’s not one single answer, that’s for sure. But some things are for sure:
  1. NBC produces this show to make money, not to improve anyone’s health.
  2. The Biggest Loser pimps various products and foods targeting  dieters. Some of these are healthy, others are crap.
  3. There is an excess focus on exercise as the means to lose weight, whereas scientific research has shown that food choices account for 80% of weight loss.
  4. Rapid weight loss does not mean sustained weight loss. In fact, most diets fail because they are a temporary period of suffering to achieve a goal. True and sustained weight loss should never be about sustained suffering, but rather about healthy habits you can keep with for years.
  5. Many of The Biggest Loser contestants have regained all their weight loss and suffered physical and emotional problems as a result of the show.
While the idea of a prime time TV show that encourages people to take control of their weight and improve their health sounds promising in theory, it appears that its manifestation in today’s extreme TV culture is fraught with problems.

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