Season 14 of The Biggest Loser premiered last weekend, featuring three teenagers for the first time ever, and critics are in an uproar. There’s so much controversy surrounding the decision to include teens on the show, and I’m finding myself kind of angry about the criticism.
Why is it so bad that there’s a show helping obese teens lose weight? It’s not like they have 100-pound cheerleaders competing. These are actual obese teens who can’t do normal teen things because they’re so overweight. These are teens who want to change their lifestyles.
Critics of the choice are saying that having teens on the show presents a confusing message and perpetuates body image issues. Huffington Post Teen Associate Editor Carolyn Gregoire said:
“You see adults on the show who are running until they fall, until they’re vomiting, and they’re being yelled at. We don’t want to be sending that message to a vulnerable young person who can be very triggered by seeing this kind of activity. I don’t think that shame and creating a fat-phobic culture is a motivating way to tell people they need to be healthy.”
It appears that most of the critics haven’t even seen the show. The teens aren’t doing the same tasks as the adults. The kids don’t even participate in weigh-ins, and they don’t get eliminated. Longtime trainer Bob Harper says:
“With the kids, we wanted to do exactly the opposite of when we work with the adults. We do no breaking down, just lifting up … It’s about getting kids to move around again and getting kids to be kids.“
Isn’t this better than shows like Teen Mom and 16 And Pregnant? I know those shows are controversial on their own, but why is there so much backlash about kids getting healthy? This theory that all teens who watch the show will get body dysmorphic disorder and become fat-phobic is absurd. I think if anything, seeing obese teens get their lives back will be inspiring and helpful.
Surely there are obese teens watching that will aim to make changes in their lives. I don’t think this is going to send teens into an eating-disorder frenzy. The show never encourages contestants to starve themselves. It encourages healthy ways to lose weight, healthy workouts, healthy everything.
It’s also kind of insulting to the teen population that these critics think so little of their intelligence. Y’all are smart. You’re not going to think you’re fat simply because three teens on a show are working out and losing weight to you know, not be obese anymore.
I think having teens on The Biggest Loser is great. I hope these teens have so much success on the show that producers decide to have an all-teen series.
What do you think about there being teen contestants? Do you think it will help other overweight teens? Do you think it will be harmful? Tell me what you think in the comments!