he fell off a treadmill when he became faint. However, they have softened their approach when working with the children. There’s no mean-spirited yelling or overt degradation, and the trainers encourage the kids with affirmations and praise. The portions of the show that feature the children’s struggles to get fit are far more watchable than the adult female floundering around on the ground while a trainer pours water on her head.
Not to mince words, The Biggest Loser is the epitome of mind-numbing, soul-extinguishing, and apparently stereotype-bolstering television. However, there is something to be said about boldly addressing childhood obesity and firing up public dialogue. Let’s be honest. Even if you have been living off the grid, you are aware childhood obesity is a deadly serious problem in America. So serious in fact that this might be the first generation to outlive their children, due to increased risk for hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, as with most social problems, there are no easy solutions. Widespread, systemic overhauls need to be made in order to rectify such a pervasive predicament. It might be entertaining if there was a show featuring actors verbally eviscerating the executives of food manufacturing corporations as they got into their Bentley’s. However, a television show about the healthy, sensible approach to weight loss and fitness would be an epic 2-3 year maxi-series featuring a family adding more vegetables into their diets and taking brisk walks while incorporating moderate strength training. I’m guessing the ratings wouldn’t be through the roof.
So do we petition against misguided television programming? Boycott NBC? I hate to say it, but I think the reality TV fad is here to stay. Besides, we all know that the “ban the books!” approach has limited efficacy. And yes, it seems we are a sick society that widely revels in the trials and tribulations of others (Particularly, others who volunteer to be observed on national television). If the primary issue in exposing children trying to lose weight on television is that overweight kids will be frowned upon at school, then I call bologna. Has anyone been a kid? As a child you are mocked if your name contains consonants. Or vowels for that matter. Bullying has been and continues to be a blight on many children's self-esteem. We will not solve or eradicate bullying unless we unearth what is at the heart of the problem: ignorance and lack of compassion. Many children who are bullied suffer in silence. Give these kids a voice. Reveal their humanity. If the world hears and sees their struggles, and the myriad of factors that contributed to the dilemma, then we can amplify awareness and be better poised to make effective changes. Use the public fascination with reality television to purposefully and thoughtfully expel stereotypes rather than promote them, (You know, like The Jersey Shore).
Whether it be genetics, insulin resistance, poverty, familial culture, unavailability to healthy foods, limited exposure to exercise, an eating disorder, or all of these factors combined, let’s use the mediums at our disposal to move toward elucidating the causes of the epidemic. Demonstrate the many paths to health and fitness by focusing on the process, not the end result. That way, we can collectively celebrate the victories won in fighting the battle and winning back our children’s health.