Season 14 of ‘The Biggest Loser’ kicked off earlier this week with the familiar faces of Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper, Dolvett Quince, and of course, many weight-loss hungry contestants. The Sunday, January 6 premier also introduced three obese teenagers in an attempt to make the public aware of the childhood obesity epidemic that is currently sweeping the nation.
With childhood obesity increasing at an alarming rate, America was given a wake-up call this past Sunday as Jillian Michaels introduced 16-year-old Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar and 13-year-olds Lindsay Bravo and Noah “Bingo” Gray- three obese teenagers who will remain on the show for the first week in an effort to not only help change the young adults’ lives, but to also gain public awareness of the real-life childhood obesity issue that the country is facing today.
Jillian Michaels, one of the top health and fitness experts in the country, gave her opinion on the teenage contestants to NBC, “As a former overweight teen, I know firsthand how dramatically weight issues can affect every aspect of a child’s life. Having recently become a mother of two, I am more passionate than ever about helping empower children and families with the information and resources they need to live a healthier life.”
Although the contestants will appear on the show, their workouts and intensity levels will not match what the adults will face. Also, their weigh-ins will not be announced on the show, nor will they be up for elimination. With these alterations, the kids will be subject to having their hopes and spirits ‘raised’ rather than being ‘broken down’. The focus of the teens’ transformation would be health – not weight or clothing size.
In an attempt to defend NBC for their controversial decision to add three teenagers into ‘The Biggest Loser’ mix, Michaels provided a statement to Al Roker of The :
“The producers of the show have been consulting some of the top experts — pediatricians, child psychologists — to help us deal with this in the most delicate and appropriate ways. For example, we won’t be saying things to kids like, ‘How much weight did you lose?’ It’s about getting them healthy, using words like ‘healthy.’ We won’t be getting them on a scale; it’s about getting them on a softball team — things like that. We’re very cognizant of how touchy it is, how controversial it is. And yet, of course, that’s right where I want to be, right in the sweet spot, right in the frying pan. I couldn’t miss an opportunity to be part of it.”
Tune in to NBC Mondays at eight o’clock to watch the contestants battle it out for not only a chance to win a quarter of a million dollars, but also the opportunity to drastically transform into a healthier lifestyle.