Well, I have a lot of thoughts on this one.
Here is what I know based on my own experience as a former contestant and the stories from my other alumni: the Biggest Loser experience itself, months of isolation and reality TV manipulation, as well as the resulting media attention, the brutal online fan reactions and criticisms and more all made being part of a weight loss competition something that has long lasting emotional and psychological ramifications. Yes, I had a blast doing it, but I have many friends who have said after going through it that they would NEVER encourage one of their loved ones to ever be a part of it. It’s brutal.
As a youth worker, I know all too well the confusion of adolescence. With hormones raging, enormous pressures from peer groups, schools and home, and the crucial identity formation taking place, the teenage years are a volatile and intense stage of development with massive potential for long lasting damage.
I cannot imagine a scenario where throwing a group of 13-17 year old adolescents into anything remotely similar to what my fellow alumni and I experienced as being anything other than damaging for them.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? And why?