The Biggest Loser: Should Show Change its Format? Or Be Canceled?

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In the wake of The Biggest Loser's controversial finale last week, some critics are calling for the NBC show to alter its format, or be canceled altogether.

Rachel Frederickson revealed she'd lost a whopping 155 lbs. - including 45 in the past three months alone - to win this season, and spark controversy.

Now, experts in health, fitness and public relations are weighing in on The Biggest Loser and how it can be improved for future seasons and contestants.

Five suggestions appear below. See if you agree ...

1. Set limits on how much contestants can lose. Those who deem Rachel Frederickson too skinny argue that she was allowed to go way, way too far.

Producers "should put measures into place to ensure [excessive weight loss] doesn't happen again," says crisis public relations specialist Jesse Derris.

Furthermore, she adds, "[NBC] should publicly announce those measures and commit to an education campaign that promotes balanced, healthy living."

2. Slow down the weight loss. It's impossible to lose more than 2 lbs. of fat per week, so beyond that is risking the loss of muscle, which is dangerous.

Celeb trainer Harley Pasternak says: "I think the show gives [the obese] a false sense that they can lose that much weight that quickly, safely."

3. Scale down the intensity of the workouts. On a similar note, critics say the body needs time to adjust to the rigorous workouts they're subjected to.

Pasternak adds, "It gives them a false sense of what you need to do to lose weight. I don't think you need to be flipping giant tractor tires and having obstacle courses."

"Weight loss is not a competitive thing."

4. Provide long-term support. They get sent home, but then what? The contestants' isolated time should be more closely monitored, critics believe.

Says one expert, "90 percent of losing weight is changing behavior, getting to the root of the problem and understanding why the pounds got put on."

5. Cancel the show. Some believe that these myriad ethical and health issues need to be addressed or the show should be axed. Do you agree?

Rachel Frederickson: Too skinny?


While I think that Rachel's final weight was unhealthy, I didn't think that the show should new canceled. This show its the ghost of its kind that gives hope to overweight America of if they can get out there and love the weight why can't I. I think it would be a shame if the show got canceled. And besides the blatant advertising, the show does put our a lot of good information on health and nutrition.


It is unhealthy to lose more than two pounds of fat per week. It is not "impossible" to do so. Unless it is the authors contention that Rachel had 100+ pounds of muscle to start with, something that a professional female body builder of that height would be hard pressed to have.
That being said it would be best to get away from the BMI and utilize body fat % as part of the winning formula. Actually show what is lost and what is not.
This, however, is something that would be hard to educate the masses about and will never make it on the show.
(It was part of season one and was dropped)


I was so disappointed in the show. I think there is another option to improve the show! If the contestant falls below a healthy BMI they should be disqualified from the show! I would be so upset to have my daughter watch that show and think Racheal has made a healthy upset with this!


I think she looks fantastic!!! The point of the show is to lose weight in a shorter amount of time than a normal. There are skinny people all over and their not getting ridiculed. I feel that the negative comments of previous contestants and everyone else are because their jealous. it simply bothers them that there body, muscle tone, and skin elasticity doesn't look as great as Rachel's. Either you're too fat or too skinny! Why can't people just be happy for other people then they have accomplished something?


a bit more believible.


It is a game. If you are obese and want to lose weight while winning money, go on this show. She wanted to win. It is always about winning money. She won. Done.


I disagree. Look at this years at home winner, Tumi. She lost 175 pounds and looks amazing! Tumi did that on her own taking what she learned at the ranch and applying it to her everyday life on her own. Rachel was sent home for 3 months, knowing she was in the finale, and she went weight loss crazy. When the ranch sent them home, Rachel appeared a healthy young woman, however, on her own, she became excessive. How can you expect someone from the show to monitor them? What does that show them about the "real" world? Maintaining their weight and even losing weight is something they need to be able to do on their own with the hectic everyday life activities. This show does not need to be changed or cancelled, and contestants do not have to be monitored at home. If anything about the show is to change, it's restrictions on winning. People claim that Rachel is too skinny, and I agree. So there should be a rule implemented that if the weight loss is excessive and unhealthy, the contestant should not be allowed to claim being the biggest loser. The show is about losing weight in a healthy manner. Let's not forget the millions of America s being inspired daily to get active, because of this show. Besides, what other show does America have to bring to light the issue of obesity?

@ Georgia

The show tries to be about healthy weight loss, but the crazy work day length workouts and massive weekly weight loss suggests otherwise. The food segments seem to be nothing more than advertisements for "Biggest Loser Supplements", Subway, Jennie O, and Extra gum. The real issue here is that this is the first time someone has ever lost below "ideal body weight". Face it, so much of the time we make comments to ourselves about how much some contestants "don't" lose. Everyone claps, but it is apparent that their time on the ranch probably didn't do as much as the thought that they were going to be forced to get on a scale at the end and be judged by all TV viewing audiences. In the end it is a contest and we have seen more than our share of contestants do very well on the show only to go back to a realistic life and gain a lot of weight back. The majority of contestants that maintain their weight loss are ones that have changed their entire lives by becoming trainers or touring the country making public appearances on behalf of the Biggest Loser. We are a nation obsessed with outward appearance and this show celebrates the transformation of our worst nightmare. This young lady played the game better than any of the other players, who are we to now speak out against this show? We blame the former players, not the show when they gain their weight back, don't we? Odds are that she won't maintain that 105 lb. weight, but even if she does that is for her to decide, not a TV viewing audience. After all we all saw her cheering, approving, family in the live audience. The show and the trainers don't follow the players at home for the last 3 months, but her mother (her biggest supporter) was right there the whole time. If you really want to avoid outcomes like this in the future take away the large cash prize at the end. Have bigger prizes during the show based on behaviors needed to maintain a healthy weight. Or if the big winner at the end is truly needed don’t give them 3 more months at home. One month would be a much more realistic time frame anyway. How many videos have we seen in the past where the players talk about how hard it was to get going when they first went home? Only having one month at home would really shine a light on the players who were truly committed to making a life long change and not just winning a big cash prize.


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