'Biggest Loser' to tackle childhood obesity
Jillian Michaels hangs out with her daughter Lukensia in Beverly Hills, California.
September 5th, 2012
09:49 AM ET

'Biggest Loser' to tackle childhood obesity

Trainer Jillian Michaels is headed back to "The Biggest Loser" next year and she's bringing a new challenge with her. The weight loss show is adding child participants for the first time in its 13-season history.

At least three teens between the ages of 13 and 17 will be included in the competition. They will work with trainers, nutritionists and child obesity experts to drop pounds just like the adult contestants on the ranch. Unlike the adults, however, they will not be up for elimination each week.

“As a former overweight teen, I know firsthand how dramatically weight issues can affect every aspect of a child’s life,” Michaels said in a statement from NBC. "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.”

More than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NBC hopes featuring children on the show will "inspire kids all over the country to get healthy."

Jillian Michaels' secrets to a stronger you

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Anna

    The food was changed in the USA, UK and Australia 30 years ago when dangerous food chemicals from the USA was allowed into Europe. The food today causes stubborn insulin If you have stubborn insulin you hold fat and have a hard time losing weight. You can eat very little and the weight still does not come off. Stubborn insulin will hold fat and diets won’t work. When researchers used a specialized diabetes diet on overweight people all lost weight even those who did not have diabetes.

    just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

    September 5, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      So true. Fixed my metabolism with help from Jillian's programs.

      September 5, 2012 at 13:34 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Blablabla – diet and exercise has NOTHING to do with anything – blablablabla – "its my metabolism," "its the chemicals in the food," "its a government conspiracy." Give me a break!! Eat a bit less and get more active!!!!!!

      September 5, 2012 at 13:46 | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Some people actually need to eat MORE, not less. Of course what they are eating is important too. But for me, I lost 30 lbs. and I had to do it by eating better and more often. I needed to eat throughout the day. There are always grapes or baby carrots or apple slices on my desk because if I don't have those munchies there, I will reach for the chips. When I don't eat every two hours, I cannot maintain my weight...my metabolism slows down. So eating less is not always the culprit. Eating more and eating healthier is ideal.

      September 5, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse |
    • Bleck

      i just stopped eating.

      September 5, 2012 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  2. Glomom

    About time. I have been sending in this idea for 4 years. My son (16) needs to lose about 50 lbs and will not listen to a thing I say to him.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      YOU control what foods are in your house. Get rid of all the CR@P that is marketed as food in the grocery stores. READ THE LABELS! High fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, crystalline fructose, etc WILL cause obesity since the AMOUNT of these things being consumed is so much higher than you think due to it be hidden in the ingredients. Unlike the commercials say, sugar is NOT sugar! Free fructose is not metabolyzed the same as the fructose contained in sucrose. Free fructose is metabolyzed by your liver into fat. Fructose in fruits are at a much lower level and bound to fiber and other nutrients.

      September 5, 2012 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
    • Riptide

      This is not a personal attack, sincerely.... but who is buying his food? Wishing him the perseverance and luck to engage in a healthy lifestyle!

      September 5, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Agree with the rest of them. I follow Jillian's eating plan – natural foods, whole grains only (not pasta), no refined sugars, limit the salt, no chemicals like the ones that the other responder mentioned. I eat great meals. There are plenty of places with fresh prepared natural foods (obviously with limited shelf life) and no anti-biotics or nitrates in meat and poultry!

      If you feed your kid that food and limit portions, they would not have weight issues... and you could get them into sports as well for exercise.

      By the way, I am 46 – in late May, weighed 164 pounds. Today I weigh 132 pounds and have nice lean muscle mass. And I do eat a decent amount – just the right things. I don't go to bed hungry or skip meals! Plus do Jillian's DVDs and jog.

      September 5, 2012 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • Ac summers

      Not attacking but is he active outside the home at school after school. Its inot only the food that you have control over but also the activities that you and your children participant in. Adult.....child.....adult.....child. Adults provide the guidance and nuturing...children listen/learn and act.

      September 5, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • Filioque

      Give the woman a break. Her son is 16, not 6. I'm sure he can (and does) get all kinds of bad food on his own. Even if the mom is trying her best to steer him in the right nutritional direction, sometimes teens are more likely to listen to someone other than their parents.

      September 5, 2012 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • Aheart

      I'm a health/exercise nut, but even I can't blame a parent for having a 16 year old overwight kid. A 16 year old is probably buying his own junk food or eating it at a friends house, even IF the house doesn't have any junk food. Also, schools have a terrible set up for hot lunches in High School, he could probably choose all junk JUST AT SCHOOL during lunch and become overweight. Schools are trying, but it's taking time. Junk is cheaper than healthy food. All it would really take to gain 50 pounds over time is a few sugared drinks a day and low activity. My daughter is 13 and finds ways to scrounge up money for sugary drinks when she's not around me.You can lead a horse to water...

      September 5, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse |
    • emm

      @ Aheart

      I grew up a very overweight teen and now fight obesity as an adult and I can tell you right now most of the food that got me to this point came from home, not from school. Also, a parent still has large control over what their child eats at school by packing them a lunch and not giving them extra money for soda, candy & chips.

      Also, healthy food is NOT more expensive than junk food. Unprocessed, whole foods are usually cheaper then most processed foods. I know, my food bill was cut in half when I stopped eating out and started making most of my food from scratch. Yes, a processed "healthier" food might more more expensive than the unhealthier version but the trick is not to even buy the processed stuff to begin with.

      September 5, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • pattysboi

      How tall is your son. Is he just stocky, or has a REAL doctor thought that he might want to lose weight? Is he on a sports team at school?

      September 5, 2012 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
  3. pgh

    Booorring..... why not let them compete? Give them some sort of psychological screening prior to entry to the show to ensure they're fit emotionally to do so. Otherwise they don't have any skin in the game, and it's just a boring spectacle to viewers. And their prize could be 4 years of college paid for!

    September 5, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liz

      They don't have to be eliminated to work in a reward program, it's likely they will have incentives and achievements. Besides, teens should learn that it's about doing it for themselves and their own well being rather than for a prize.

      September 5, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
  4. charlottalifetolive

    I wonder how they are going to get the parents involved, looking forward to finding out. This is definitely the key in helping our children in this country is get the WHOLE family to care about their health and their futures.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Rhythmn

    Start with Honey Boo Boo!

    September 5, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tony

      And her disgusting hog mother.

      September 5, 2012 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
  6. Mary

    Didn't miss Jillian at all.

    September 5, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tony

      I miss her a lot. I just want her and Bob on the show. If you don't miss her why are you reading this ?

      September 5, 2012 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
  7. bob

    Where are you going to find overweight kids in this country?

    September 5, 2012 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • annette

      you can find them anywhere in texas

      September 5, 2012 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
  8. JohnHruban

    Have we becme so obsessed with over weight people that now it's going to be children? Isn't there something on TV that might actually improve your mind? Over indulgence is the major cause of overweight people. Where else do you think it comes from. ? The air we breath maybe. It's a sad situation we find ourselves in here. Hasn't anyone never noticed the lack of obesity in most of the world besides here? And then we make a TV show about it. Get real please.

    September 5, 2012 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Julie

      Actually obesity is seriously on the rise in Europe too. Sorry.

      September 5, 2012 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
  9. Julie

    Great, now we can teach overweight teens to have totally unrealistic weight loss goals and hate themselves and quit after a week because they only lost 1 pound instead of 14.

    September 5, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. The Scampi Cat

    Honey Boo Boo can be her first client

    September 5, 2012 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. perry

    I feel sorry for Asian kids born here. They are fat like other kids with parent that tell it like it is.

    September 5, 2012 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. jimjam

    it is about time it is a shame the size we have become as humans. pure saturated fatty foods, preservatives in all we eat, we are so unhealthy as a nation.

    September 5, 2012 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Aardie

    As if teenagers wouldn't have enough of an advantage in a biggest loser contest, they also get immunity?!?!

    September 5, 2012 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Spitzygirl

    I sincerely hope Jillian tones down her approach when dealing with the overweight teens on the show. Yelling and putting them down does not work in the long run. Yes they might buckle down and loose weight in the short term, mostly because they are afraid and intimidated by all the yelling and put downs, but what good does that do when after the show the weight comes back and then some after the show.

    September 5, 2012 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. JohnHruban

    My observation in Europe is many people are stout and portly but not the huge obese folks we see every day over here They seem to walk much more also.. In the Orient and far east seldom do you see such blimp sized proportinate folks. Anyway what I don't understand is how anyone would watch a TV program about people, in most cases that, are just being rewarded for their glutenous behavior. Is that entertainment? If so we are really in trouble.

    September 5, 2012 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Wendy

    I wish I had know sooner that young adults were going to be involved in BL 14. My daughter and granddaughter are both struggling with their weight. My daughter is at 300 lbs & my precious 16 year old granddaughter is at 290. They have been attending weight watchers for the past year and lost 30+ lbs. however over the summer they have both gained it all back. My heart is breaking for them as we have a family history of heart disease & diabetes. I just wish I had know sooner.

    September 5, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • poppapatty

      I think Robb Wolf's Paleo Solution Diet is a better option. Getting rid of grains, dairy, sugar, and processed foods is a much better option. Our Gov't Food Pyramid is hogwash and is killing us. Check it out for yourself.

      September 15, 2012 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  17. Darliene Howell

    I am aghast at having just heard that "The Biggest Loser" is now targeting children! This will only further the stigmatization of large children.

    A Yale Rudd Center report reviewed existing research on weight stigma in children and adolescents, with attention to the nature and extent of weight bias toward obese youths and to the primary sources of stigma in their lives, including peers, educators, and parents. As a result of weight bias and discrimination, obese children suffer psychological, social, and health-related consequences. Substantial change is needed to combat this bias. http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/bias/StigmaObesityChildrensHealth.pdf

    Rebecca Puhl of the Rudd Center further brings to light the stigmatization of large children in the following article.

    I would like to recommend the free NAAFA Child Advocacy ToolkitSM (CATK) and other written guidelines/resources to assist you looking at programs. The total health of our nation's children is a serious responsibility.

    The NAAFA Child Advocacy Toolkit shows how Health At Every Size® takes the focus off weight and directs it to healthful eating and enjoyable movement. It addresses the bullying, building positive self-image and eliminating stigmatization of large children. Additionally, the CATK lists resources available to parents and educators or caregivers for educational materials, curriculum and programming that is beneficial for all children. It can be found at:

    September 6, 2012 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 7, 2012 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 7, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Alissa

    I think this is a good idea but definitely needs to be done with great care. I think Jillian is smart enough to know that her approach with these children needs to be a bit different than it is with the adults. The obesity rate among children saddens me, in part because of the health issues and in part because of the bullying associated with it. Unfortunately, it is more difficult (but certainly not impossible) for lower socio-economic to eat healthy. I used to receive food stamps and could never use them at health food stores that sold the good, organic produce. Most grocery stores now have an organic section which is a huge plus, however, the food that schools provide is horrendous! Pizza sauce is now actually considered a vegetable serving in schools! I know firsthand how horrible the food is and if you receive food stamps, you're going to take advantage of the free lunch program the school has to offer to save money at home. The sad part is there is plenty of healthy food to go around. The government needs to make it more accessible

    September 10, 2012 at 02:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. REPEAL!

    School lunches have become a nightmare for kids across America! Everyday, they are paying more for less food. While the "Healthy, Hunger-Free Act" had good intentions, it has failed and needs to be repealed! More food is ending up in the trash and less in student's stomach! Join the movement here: https://www.facebook.com/EndofSchoolLunchRegulation

    September 20, 2012 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Quaid

    Weight loss is not easy.Everyday we see scams and gimmicks.Educate-Motivate-ACTIVATE. Many fail to permanently lose weight because of the wrong product. More important,it's because they were not emotionally ready.Thanks. onlyweight.com Quaid

    October 11, 2012 at 21:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. HealthPundit

    If your parents or grand parents are obese the children have a higher chance of becoming obese.However genetics alone does not decide your fate of becoming obese. Factors like nutrition and environment play a role in activating these “fat genes”. Good nutrition filled with fruits and vegetables and stress free life make you conquer obesity

    October 29, 2012 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Alison

    These kids are going to end up with eating disorders and in need of therapy. It's one thing to gently encourage a child to become more active, its another to put them on a reality televison show that humiliates obese adults and tell them they are not good enough, they are social lepers, and they must lose weight. It's disgusting

    January 6, 2013 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
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