I never understood the popularity of NBC’s weight-loss reality show The Biggest Loser.
Actually, let me backtrack. I get why The Biggest Loser is a hit — it appeals to our interest in makeovers, weight-loss, and cheering for the underdog.
What I don’t understand is how a show that humiliates obese people (the sight of publicity-obsessed Jillian Michaels berating an obese person panting on a treadmill doesn’t scream “empowering” to me) and condones unhealthy weight-loss practices (i.e.: six hours of a day of exercise, extreme caloric restriction) was so welcomed by millions of television viewers.
Today’s New York Times features a much-needed article on just how dangerous this show’s diet and exercise guidelines can be.
Of course, the show’s producers attempt to justify their reality circus by giving lip service to America’s “obesity crisis” and inspiring people to be the best they can. Blah, blah, blah.
Not surprisingly, medical and nutrition consultants to the show have nothing but praise and positive comments for the show they are employed by!
I wholeheartedly agree with many of the statements made by Dr. Charles Burant, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Health System director of the Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center:
“I’m waiting for the first person to have a heart attack. I think the show is so exploitative. They are taking poor people who have severe weight problems whose real focus is trying to win the quarter-million dollar [grand prize].”
Meanwhile, how much longer do I have to put up with those heinous commercials for Jillian Michaels’ various pills, supplements, and “fat burners”? Enough is enough.