The Biggest Loser Promotes the Bullying Cycle
- The Biggest Loser Promotes the Bullying Cycle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2013
Foster City, CA - NAAFA strongly condemns the upcoming television show, Season 14 of The Biggest Loser, which will include young teenagers. The Biggest Loser, well known for its abusive tactics, should not be allowed to profit off the bullying and stigmatization of fat kids. That this series would be developed despite the evidence of the harm done to children by focusing on body size and weight loss is unconscionable. There is no doubt that the promotion of a healthy, long-term lifestyle is not the primary purpose of this television show, but rather to grab ratings and profits for the network and its producers.
"I am concerned that The Biggest Loser promotes short-term weight loss and does long-term harm to the bodies, minds, and spirits of many of its contestants and viewers--precipitating eating disorders, weight gain, depression, and weight-based bullying. That they are now involving teenagers is appalling," states Dr. Barbara Altman Bruno, Ph.D., LCSW, author and NAAFA Advisory Board member.
Numerous studies have addressed the issue of focusing on children's weight and body size. These studies include results that indicate:
Fewer calories are consumed by overweight and obese children than by average weight counterparts... beginning at around 7 years of age according to a 2012 study of caloric intake in a large, nationwide population of children and adolescents. (Skinner, Steiner and Perrin, Sept. 2012)
Greater weight gain occurs among young people engaged in weight-control practices regardless of baseline weight, than that of adolescents who do not engage in such practices (Neumark-Sztainer et al., 2006).
The more weight per se is talked about, the more likely teens are to adopt dangerous dieting behaviors. The focus needs to be on health much more than weight, based on results from a population-based, longitudinal study with 2,500 teens conducted at the University of Minnesota. (Newmark-Sztainer et al., 2006)
Media and cultural obsession with weight loss actually undermine motivation to adopt healthy lifestyle habits according to a study from UCLA. (Yancey et al., 2006)
We need to create environments in which children and adolescents do not feel shame or guilt about their bodies but are instead motivated to enjoy healthful eating and active living habits regardless of their body size or shape.
This television show will create a pervasive bias against fat children and it is logical that bias begets discrimination. NAAFA opposes discrimination in any form. Discrimination is wrong and must stop now!
Visit the NAAFA website at www.naafa.org to view the NAAFA Child Advocacy Toolkit from our homepage. This groundbreaking toolkit shifts the focus from the war on childhood obesity to a health-centered focus embracing children of all sizes. Even more importantly, it demonstrates how to design programs and approaches that will improve the total health of all our children.
CALL TO ACTION
NAAFA encourages all concerned parties to contact the following people to express your concern about the damage that will be done by this offensive television series:
Attn: Eden Gaha
10999 Riverside Drive, Suite 100
North Hollywood, California 91602
3 Ball Productions
3650 Redondo Beach Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Senior Press Manager
NBC Entertainment Publicity
Director, Photo Production
NBCUniversal Photography & New Media
Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit human rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment through public education, advocacy, and member support.
On the web: http://www.naafa.org
For more information contact:
Peggy Howell, Public Relations Director
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA)