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'Biggest Loser' fans: Don't try this at home*

December 9, 2009 | 12:34 pm
Oklahoma native Danny Cahill handily won during Tuesday night’s Season 8 finale of the reality show "The Biggest Loser."  The father of two dropped a record-breaking 239 pounds*.  

But viewers, beware. As reporter Jeannine Stein points out, losing 55.58% of your body weight as Cahill did is not as easy as it looks -- especially when you're not on a ranch with a personal trainer and a camera crew filming your every move. On a more serious note, these types of shows mask the serious risks that come with extreme weight loss, Stein writes.

The Kaiser Family Foundation took it upon itself to perform a rigorous study of reality TV and the public health (looking at such shows as "Cold Turkey," "Dr. 90210" and, yes, "The Biggest Loser"). Viewers, the report noted, who try to model their life changes on TV set themselves up for failure. “Such people may be less likely to commit to the long-term and much more gradual changes that are recommended by health professionals.”

Healthy change takes time. There’s a dose of reality, minus the TV.

-- Amina Khan

[*Updated: An earlier version of this story stated that Cahill lost 239 pounds over the course of three months. The contestant spent three months at the ranch but lost weight over a longer period of time.]

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Comments (7)

come on, if they performed a rigours study why are they equivocating with "may".

To the author of this article: Did you watch the show? He did not lose 239 lbs over 3 months! It was longer than that! They said they had 120 days at home to work on it...but there was more time at the ranch on top of that. It's important to get the facts straight when you are writing an article for all to see. Please be more careful and research more thoroughly!

12 weeks on the ranch...12o days at home...that does NOT make 3 months!

bet you won't post my comments because I pointed out your mistake

Please correct your article. He lost the weight over the period of greater than 6 months under medical supervision. 3 months is the length of the time at the ranch.

I understand your point about people losing weight too quickly. But I wanted to point out that the show actually took place over the course of 5-6 months.

Which is more risky, extreme weight loss or morbid obesity?


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