Who are the Biggest Losers?

According to the NBC Network & the producers of The Biggest Loser tv show, KIDS.

Normally I don’t re-blog the works of others, but I found this to be important enough to share with my readers.  Please read the following from Ragen Chastain, writer and speaker on self-esteem, body image, and health at every size:

Keep Kids Off “The Biggest Loser”

Season 14 of sensationalistic reality show “The Biggest Loser” wants to include children for the first time. We need to stand up for kids and say no.

Based on current plans the kids, two 13-year-olds and a 16-year-old, will be partially participating in the show by being “mentored.”  Apparently they won’t be eligible for prize money, and they won’t participate in weigh ins. But that will likely be cold comfort considering the brutal nature of the program in which they will be participating. “The Biggest Loser” program has been described by a former contestant as a “dehumanization process…where they start teaching you that because you are overweight you are sub-human.” In an interview with Golda Poretsky of bodylovewellness.com, a former contestant describes the conditions into which they are now planning to place children:

“There was a registered dietician that was supposed to be helping as well…but every time she tried to give us advice…the crew or production would step in and tell us that we were not to listen to anybody except our trainers. “

“The doctor had taken our blood and tested us and sent us a solution…when the trainers found out we were taking it, they told us under no certain terms were we to be taking that, because it would make us retain water and gain weight on the scale and we’d have to go home. The doctors had ordered us to take it and the trainers were like, ‘throw it out, right now.’ There was this interference between the people who were actually probably trying to get us healthy from the people who wanted a good television show.“

“The Biggest Loser” is not a camp where people go to get healthy. It is a reality show where people risk their health and their very lives in a 21st-century coliseum. They are routinely verbally and emotionally abused in an attempt to win money by making their bodies as small as possible as fast as possible. If adults want to do that it’s their choice, but do we really want that for our kids? Do we want children to see this as the type of behavior they should model?

Besides which, there’s no proof that this will be good for the kids anyway. Studies clearly show that the techniques used by the show produce ratings-friendly short term weight loss but long-term weight regain in most people. When it comes to kids, research from the University of Minnesota found that “none of the behaviors being used by adolescents (in 1999) for weight-control purposes predicted weight loss[in 2006]…Of greater concern were the negative outcomes associated with dieting and the use of unhealthful weight-control behaviors, including significant weight gain.” Also of great concern is the fact that hospitalizations for eating disorders in kids under 12 are up 119% in the last decade. Kids UNDER 12. Shows like “The Biggest Loser” hardly demonstrate a healthy or balanced approach to either eating or exercise.

“The Biggest Loser” wants to put children on a show under the direction of trainers who insist that contestants ignore the advice of dieticians and doctors while screaming supportive words of encouragement like “I’M BORED WITH YOUR PATHETIC STORY!” and “GET ON THE F*CKING TREADMILL” in their faces.

Healthy habits are good for kids of all sizes, and humiliation is bad for kids of all sizes, and if we want to help kids develop a lifelong love of heatlhy habits, we can do way better than this. Sign this petition and tell “The Biggest Loser” that we will not allow them to profit from the bullying and stigmatization of fat kids.

Jeanette DePatie and Ragen Chastain, co-founders of the Fit Fatties Forum www.FitFatties.com

You can also check out Golda Poretsky’s post that inspired this petition http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2012/12/10/the-biggest-loser-is-coming-for-your-kids-stopbiggestloser/

and join the Twitter campaign #stopbiggestloser

Read the full interview with Golda Poretsky and former Biggest Loser contestant Kai Hibbard at http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2010/06/09/kai-hibbard-biggest-loser-finalist-part-1-of-3/

I have 2 kids, neither of them are fat.  Both have been bullied in the past however, and I don’t want to give school age kids any more reason to bully.  Fat hatred & prejudice exists in this country, and any show that glorifies the tactics that Ragen has noted above should not be on television.  It’s bad enough that adults are subjected to it (albeit voluntarily), but I would have to assume that parents would need to sign their kids into the Biggest Loser program, meaning that the kids really have no say here.  Glorifying fat shaming and bullying to fat kids on television will only help to propagate those activities, not help kids become healthier, physically OR emotionally.

I hope that my readers can see how wrong this is on so many levels.

What I’m asking is that each of you click the link that will take you to a website where you can sign a petition to the producers of the show that says the following:

Ben Silverman, Executive Producer
Dave Broome, Executive Producer
JD Roth, Executive Producer
Todd A. Nelson, Executive Producer
Mark Koops, Executive Producer
I am writing to ask you to keep kids off “The Biggest Loser”. This is a reality show where people lose weight by any means necessary in an attempt to win money. Contestants have reported highly unhealthy behaviors including dehydration and other manipulation of weight through water, ignoring the advice of dieticians and doctors, working out while severely injured, and even eating disorders. This is no place for children, especially with hospitalizations for eating disorders in kids under twelve up 119% in the last decade. Please keep kids off “The Biggest Loser.”
Also, feel free to contact the NBC Network directly, and ask them to do the same.  I already did, and informed them that I would boycott their sponsors & contact them to advise them of this as well.
There’s a drop down menu where it says you can voice your opinions on NBC shows.  Click on the Biggest Loser.  Do it now.  Do it for size acceptance.  Do it if you were bullied as a kid for being fat.  Most important, if you have kids, do it for them.

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