The Biggest Loser: Is it Healthy?

Biggest Loser coaches often yell at their clients.(photo source: Morguefile)

Biggest Loser coaches often yell at their clients.
(photo source: Morguefile)

Are you a fan of The Biggest Loser?  The reality show is in its 14th season and this time they’ve added kids to the mix.  For the first time, several young teenage participants are taking part in the bootcamp-style eating and exercise program.  If you’ve ever watched the show, you know that some rough tactics are used to encourage participants to follow their diets.  Now, because children are involved, there has been greater criticism of those strategies.

NAAFA Condems Biggest Loser

The National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) is a non-profit organization that supports policies aimed at ending discrimination based on size.  They are one of several organizations that has made public statements about the “bullying and stigmatization” that happens on the show. In a statement to the press, Dr. Barbara Altman Bruno, Ph.D., LCSW, author and NAAFA Advisory Board member had this to say.

“I am concerned that The Biggest Loser promotes short-term weight loss and does long-term harm to the bodies, minds, and spirits of many of its contestants and viewers–precipitating eating disorders, weight gain, depression, and weight-based bullying.”

Caring Support for Your Exercise Program

There is no reason to stop watching the show if you enjoy it.  But keep in mind that most exercise professionals do not follow the tactics used by the coaches you see on tv.   There are programs at the Institute for Athletic Medicine, for example, that provide supportive, personalized coaching to beginners based on their own abilities and willingness for change.

If you’ve been intimidated or nervous about starting an exercise program to improve your health, this might be the best first step for you.   Clinic Director Darin Thom, DPT, says “it’s all about setting reasonable goals and starting slow.”

Find out more about how to take advantage of this program by talking to your primary care provider or get more information at the North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss website.  And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get more healthy tips and supportive advice.



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