Several months ago I wrote a blog post about why I am not a fan of the TV show The Biggest Loser (TBL). Last week I heard that first lady Michelle Obama might make an appearance on the show to promote her (in my opinion) misguided but well-intended Let’s Move campaign. And when I heard this news, my heart broke.
I’m going to get right to the point. TBL stigmatizes fat people. Stigmatization leads to discrimination. And when people feel stigmatized their physical, mental, and emotional health declines. Just to prevent any confusion, I want to clarify a couple of things:
- I support the pursuit of health
- I support making lifestyle modifications that lead to more nutritious eating and physical activity
- And most importantly- I support behavioral changes that are EFFECTIVE and not harmful.
And this is why I cannot support TBL. It is entertainment that is harmful because:
- Research is clear, TBL increases anti-fat attitudes and weight stigma
- All the research we have indicates that when viewers watch TBL it doesn’t actually lead to positive behavior change such as increased exercise
- Contestants on TBL actually experience a severe drop in metabolism, burning fewer than 504 calories on average.
- A recent study showed that as many as 90% of contestants on the show purportedly regain all their lost weight
- Contestants on the show are at risk of developing eating disorders since they are asked to engage in severe over-exercise while consuming a semi-starvation diet
- TBL advocates for such extreme behaviors that actually put people at risk for future weight gain
Please consider joining with me to oppose the first lady, Michelle Obama, from appearing on TBL. You can:
- Share this blog post or video
- Sign this petition
- Share these pins on Pinterest
- Commit to boycotting the show
Metabolic Slowing with Massive Weight Loss despite Preservation of Fat-Free Mass
When Science Met the Biggest Loser
Weighing in on NBC’s The Biggest Loser: governmentality and self-concept on the scale.
No clear winner: effects of The Biggest Loser on the stigmatization of obese persons
The effects of reality television on weight bias: an examination of The Biggest Loser
Learn More About the Health Consequences and Research on Weight Stigma