Wednesday, 24 March 2010

So I've heard so much about the reality show The Biggest Loser, that I went on line, searched, found and watched most of Biggest Loser (America) Season 6 this weekend. WOW!!!

Being the person that I am, my first thought was, what a f***ing shame that people who have this illness called obesity are so desperate for help that they would surrender themselves to a show designed to entertain. It says everything about societal attitudes to obesity. that such a show even exists. Think about it, would we all be okay with a reality show which made entertainment out of doling out the curing for cancer, or lupus or leukemia to a few worthy participants? Maybe it's just me, but there's something a lot twisted about the whole thing.

Let me not be misunderstood, clearly lives are being saved and transformed by these shows and they provide an invaluable education for participants and viewers alike, but my question is, why do sick people have to put themselves on display to get help?

According to the American Journal of Medical Genetics, Obesity "is one of the leading causes of preventable death" and "has emerged as one of the most serious public health concerns in the 21st century." The National Obesity Forum in the UK says that "1.1 billion adults and 10% of children are now classified as overweight or obese." That folks is more than 1/6 of the world's population. The NOF says that obesity requires "careful clinical assessment to identify underlying factors and to allow coherent management" but "neither the medical management nor the societal preventive challenges are currently being met." So of course that leaves the ill and desperate vulnerable to every snake oil salesman who comes along peddling a cure.

I am happy for the people that have been able to manage their obesity and regain their health with the assistance of The Biggest Loser, and I for one did learn a lot by watching it, I just think it's a real shame that some of the best elements of the show aren't available to the 1.1 billion plus people whose lives are going to be prematurely shortened, through well run and efficient national health care systems.


  1. I tuned into a cable show for a few minutes about grossly over-weight people. They showed an over 400 lb. man being bathed by his mom.
    G-R-O-S-S!!! People are fascinated by stuff like that. Some get motivated by seeing such shows as "The Biggest Loser." Many, I suspect, feel better about themselves because they are not as fat as the people on the show. I haven't watched "Loser" (Or really any TV for quite a while).

  2. I have a love/hate relationship with that show. I find these people losing the weight and learning a healthier lifestyle to be motivating and inspiring. But at the same time, it is not a realistic approach. Believe me, if I wasn't going to work and managing my home and my family and could spend all my time exercising and being fed good food by other people, I'd be successful too! And this is borne out by seeing these contestants a year or so after the show is over. Eric, who at that point had been the biggest participant ever and won the whole thing now has another show dealing with how he's going to lose the weight a SECOND time! Because going on that show and winning all that money wasn't enough to make him stick to his new lifestyle. It's a crash diet at best for extremely large people. They lose the weight, but as a rule, it doesn't stay off.

  3. I think the biggest loser is a great show. Its amazing to see the contestants transformed from people who have all but given up on life to energetic, go-getters.

    I don't think people who watch the show just watch it to feel good about themselves, because even in the first episode the contestants undertake training sessions that most people wouldn't have the gumption to even contemplate.


What's it all about Alfie?