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Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser
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Author:  Spender [ Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:37 am ]
Post subject:  Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

Please sign the petition; this is a horrible thing to do to anyone, and children are helpless to take charge of their lives and say "no!"


Author:  vanillaa [ Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

Signed. The idea kind of makes me want to cry.

Author:  Kaz [ Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

MTV had a program a few years ago about kids losing weight during the summer. It was sick. Signed the petition, I am tired of things like this existing.

Author:  komich [ Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

The blog post referenced is worth a read as well: http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2012/12 ... gestloser/

Author:  Spender [ Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser


More and more evidence is suggesting that the real danger of obesity has nothing to do with fat, and everything to do with the stigma of being fat.

Great blog post, Kelly. Thank you.

Author:  komich [ Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

I'm so tired of this kind of show and they just keep popping up. I'll admit to having watched but it was either in my own shaming days or watching the way people stop to look at car accidents (so horrific I can't look away type deals). Having kids on them is the worst! Beyond all that is horrible about fat shaming and overexercise I always have an issue with people not letting kids just freaking be kids. And part of that IS birthday cake and ice cream, pizza parties, sleepovers with cookies and pop....when you take those things away from adults you set them up to crave them more, why would kids be any different?

How about we teach our children to love themselves instead? Oh that doesn't make good television....

Author:  Spender [ Tue May 21, 2013 3:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

When Self Worth Becomes the Biggest Loser
By Allison Epstein (Intern, 2013)
May 20, 2013

On the inside, I’m still about 7 years old.

There’s a shelf in my bedroom dedicated to Disney movies. When I’m stressed, I’ve been known to break out coloring pages. I’m still a little upset that I didn’t get my Hogwarts letter when I was 11. I look back on my childhood as a simpler time, when there just weren’t so many things to worry about.

And that’s why this billboard that I recently came across struck me especially hard.

The ad, if you haven’t seen it, features three slim, happy children playing on the higher end of a see-saw, and an overweight, sad-looking boy holding a bag of chips on the lower end. The slogan? “Once, kids played like their lives depended on it. If only kids still did.” This friendly fat-shaming message was brought to you by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Now, I’m not claiming that kids don’t need to play outside. I don’t believe that sitting on the couch playing video games and eating truckloads of Cheetos is a good way to spend one’s childhood. (Not to mention the Cheeto dust getting all over everything. That stuff’s insidious.) I think we all agree it would be a good thing if everyone in America were happy and healthy, in whatever way felt right for them and their bodies.

But fat shaming is not the way to accomplish that.

For those of you who think you aren’t familiar with fat shaming, trust me: you are, you just haven’t heard it referred to by that name. Fat shaming is the idea that your body shape is everyone’s moral issue. Simply put, if you’re fat, it’s your fault, and you’d be better off if you did something about it. If a family member suggests you should skip dessert because your dress size has two digits; or if a doctor focuses only on your weight instead of your symptoms; or if you’re being used in a public service announcement as the worst-case scenario, you are being fat shamed.

Fat shaming assumes that if we make people who are overweight feel bad enough about their bodies, they will be motivated to change them. This motivation might not be overt: after all, I doubt the AAOS got together around their conference table and said, “You know what? Let’s make kids hate themselves. Bonus points if we can encourage crash dieting and trigger eating disorders, too.” (I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that meeting, just to hear what the rationale really was.)

There’s a psychological theory behind this, called operant conditioning. Here’s the gist: each time a subject does something the experimenter doesn’t like, the subject receives a painful consequence until it learns not to repeat the behavior. If this sounds like something designed for lab rats, that’s because it is. Some people argue that even though those on the receiving end of operant conditioning are treated poorly, the shame gets the desired result in the end. If making children feel worthless and unlovable gets them off the couch and out onto the playground, isn’t it worth a few years of trauma?

Shame as a motivator is pervasive in weight loss culture. According to the reality television program The Biggest Loser, the best way to encourage an overweight person to begin exercising is to repeatedly remind them that they’re unattractive, lazy, and otherwise going to die. This can be done either by yelling oneself hoarse or getting more artistic and locking them in a coffin for up to 20 minutes to remind them of the consequences of obesity. The ends justify the means, right?


I’m not convinced.

Aren’t we supposed to tell our kids that we love them the way that they are and encourage healthy self-esteem? But then we treat overweight children as an “epidemic,” and we belittle and ridicule them in the name of “health.” I smell a contradiction.

We should be supporting health for America’s youth, no doubt about it. But societal norms are not health, and shame is not support.

Ads like the AAOS billboard or the Georgia anti-obesity campaign are not the only ways we’re telling our kids that they only have value so long as they’re thin. In a controversial move, NBC’s The Biggest Loser has teamed up with Seventeen Magazine (which, irony of all ironies, features a section called “Body Peace Pledge,” encouraging teens to love themselves as they are) to feature childhood contestants for the first time.

Pause for a second to let that sink in: some of the new contestants on The Biggest Loser are 13 years old.

Yes, trainers have said that the teenagers will not participate in weigh-ins, nor will they be yelled at (or, hopefully, locked in coffins). But this teaches overweight American teenagers that as long as they’re overweight, it’s okay for them to be gawked at. It’s acceptable to push themselves so hard to lose weight that they damage their health, and it’s natural to hate their bodies until they change them. What does it say about us when a show that encourages fat shaming, disordered eating behaviors, and outright cruelty gets a 21% rise in ratings when it extends its tactics to teenagers?

The Biggest Loser’s proponents claim that the drastic lifestyle changes the show encourages may prevent the life-threatening consequences that are commonly associated with those who are overweight: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. But I can only speak for what I’ve seen. Public weigh-ins in front of entire towns, using junk food as punishment, and of course simulated death as a motivator to crank the treadmill up one more notch… all of these are clear strategies for making overweight individuals feel terrible about themselves, and they reinforce the idea that weight is something to be ashamed of.

Not to mention, of course, the inundation of longitudinal health studies that prove to us that weight cycling, or repeated weight loss and subsequent weight gain, has consequences of its own. Sixty-five percent of people who rapidly lose large amounts of weight regain it within three years,which is hardly surprising. The weight loss program proposed by The Biggest Loser isn’t sustainable for people without eight hours a day to devote to exercise. Weight cycling, alternately known as yo-yo dieting, has been linked to a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a slowed metabolism. This last side effect may actually cause faster weight gain, since the body is accustomed to operating in survival mode and will respond to changes in intake more dramatically.

We want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy members of society – regardless of the numbers on the scale. We need to teach them to accept themselves for who they are and what they can do, not what they look like. We need to ditch shame and use love instead. Engaging in healthy eating and exercise are great, but without healthy self-esteem, what kind of message are we sending?

Kids learn by example. Show them that fat shaming is unacceptable. Encourage health that isn’t based on appearance or size. Aim to love your body. If you’re in the process of learning to accept your body, be conscious of not engaging in “fat talk” in front of children. Discourage unhealthy diets and negative self-image as soon as you see them surfacing.

Please, let kids fantasize about being firefighters and doctors and Spiderman. Don’t replace their dreams with shame and diet plans. If this continues, we’ll all be the biggest losers.

Adios Barbie

Author:  Spender [ Tue May 21, 2013 3:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

childhoodobesity2012.jpg [ 98.26 KiB | Viewed 9527 times ]

Chunky. Hefty. Big-boned. For parents of overweight children, it’s all too easy to minimize reality. But the consequences of a heavy childhood may actually result in a generation of children with shorter life spans than their parents.

Encourage physical activity and better nutrition. Do whatever it takes to get your kids as active as kids once were. Activity and weight-bearing exercise will help your child live stronger, and live longer. For more advice and information, visit orthoinfo.org, aap.org/obesity and posna.org.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America (POSNA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) want to increase awareness about the importance of exercise, and how exercise can affect bone and joint health. Activity and weight-bearing exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It plays a key role in preventing many obesity-related medical disorders and health conditions such as diabetes. Because it increases the load on your joints, obesity can aggravate bone and joint conditions, such as back pain and knee problems.

Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of these conditions by increasing muscle strength and flexibility, and reducing body fat. So get up, get out, and get moving.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Author:  joycelot [ Tue May 21, 2013 3:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

From the hoopla http://thehoopla.com.au/fat-shaming-entertainment/

'FAT SHAMING RAGE' by Kerri Sackville
When I caught a glimpse of the ‘first look’ at The Biggest Loser on Channel 10, I was horrified.
Because The Biggest Loser is now claiming to ‘break the obesity cycle in families’. Yes, this prime example of reality porn is now performing a community service. The Biggest Loser contestants this year are families. And some of those families include people under 21. The youngest is a fifteen year-old boy.

I despised The Biggest Loser before it brought children into the mix, but this has taken my antipathy to a new low.
Firstly, because no fifteen year-old child can give informed consent to being shamed and bullied on national TV. And secondly, because the disengenuity of TBL propaganda – that it is working to make our population healthier – enrages me. I don’t believe the producers of TBL give a hoot about the obesity crisis Australia.
These are the same producers who bring us Masterchef and Beauty and the Geek – let’s not pretend they are a charitable organisation. They are hosting a game show in which overweight people compete in their underwear to see who has lost the greatest amount of weight.
And it is a disgrace.
Robyn and Katie, mother and daughter team on TBL
Let’s get beyond the myth perpetrated by TBL that a fat person, by definition, cannot be healthy, happy, or have good self esteem. This, of course, is nonsense, but we’ll move on.
Let’s just look at the ways in which TBL ‘trainers’ address the weight issues of their charges.Not every fat person has an eating disorder or eats for emotional reasons. However, the contestants on TBL do have unhealthy relationships with food – relationships which make them unhappy.
Instead of receiving counselling and support, the contestants are placed on severely kilojoule restricted diets, and starved and exercised like pack animals. They are brought consistently to thresholds of extreme physical pain, and, occasionally, unconsciousness. The trainers bully the contestants and yell at them, conveying that implicit message that fat people aren’t worthy of respect or self-esteem.
Bizarre “exercises” are included, like being buckled into harnesses and pulling a truck behind them. Truly. A truck. This isn’t exercise. This isn’t healthy. This isn’t a way to generate positive changes.
It is cruel and dehumanising and a little perverted. And it is packaged and labelled as entertainment.

TBL trainers, Shannan Ponton, Michelle Bridges and ” The Commando”
And let’s not forget the weigh-in at the end of the day.
The weigh-in. Where contestants line up in their underwear and step on the scales to be told by the numbers how worthy they are. And why are they weighed in their underwear? Because it is far more titillating for the audience to see fat people in their underwear, true to The Biggest Loser’s theme of reality porn.
I cannot stop The Biggest Loser from being made, but can certainly stop my family from watching.
I strongly urge you to do the same.
The Biggest Loser isn’t going to solve the obesity crisis, but you can stop the cycle of fat shaming in your home by simply pressing a button.

*Kerri is not alone in her dismay at this latest The Biggest Loser. She asks us to refer you to an online petition addressed to the producers of TBL here.

Author:  Kate the great [ Tue May 21, 2013 8:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

The whole concept of The Biggest Loser troubles me. Am I supposed to secretively watch it, ashamed of how much I am like the "before"s? Is the whole family supposed to watch it together after dinner?

A lot of the exercises aren't that ridiculous (I've sat in the driver's seat to do the brakes while my boyfriend pushes the car back and forth because he used to do it in football practice and it's dynamic or something); it's just how sustained they're supposed to be day after day. Why is it okay to lock people in coffins because they're overweight/obese? When is it okay to tell anyone that they should be ashamed of their bodies?

Biggest Loser is so wrong, and adults have no business being on the show, not to mention kids. If somebody were following this regimen outside of the show, they'd land on one of those "my strange addiction" or "true life" shows.

And people compete to get on this show.

Author:  joycelot [ Tue May 21, 2013 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Keep Kids Off the Biggest Loser

I agree completely. It's pure exploitation. It makes me very sad.

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