The Biggest Loser promotes unhealthy attitudes towards weight, exercise, and dieting. The contestants undergo an extremely rigorous exercise and diet regime, which is both excessive and unsustainable.
The inclusion of minors in this season of the show, including children as young as 15, has the potential to have harmful effects on both the physical and psychological health of the contestants. Furthermore, the viewers exposed to the show, especially young people, may be negatively influenced, setting them up for a life-time of body image issues and an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise.
I don’t think anyone would argue that healthy eating, exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight are behaviours we should be promoting. However, the guilt, shame and fear tactics utilised on the show are not the way to go about “changing the shape of Australia.” Yes, obesity is an issue of concern in our society, but so are eating disorders and body image issues.
At a minimum, we request that a warning be provided at the beginning of each episode of The Biggest Loser. This warning should state the excessive nature of the activites on the show and the potential health risks, and that these activities should not be attempted at home without medical advice.