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Did the Biggest Loser Really Have a Winner?

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  February 5, 2014 11:35 PM

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The Twittersphere has been abuzz over the results of NBC's finale of the television show, The Biggest Loser. Rachel Frederickson, a 24-year-old who started the weight loss contest at 260 pounds, was crowned the winner by losing about 60 percent of her body weight and weighing in at a very lean 105 pounds. The concern among some viewers is that Rachel went too far and lost too much weight.

Click on the video below to view her beginning and ending weight.

According to E! Online, Rachel is 5’4 inches, which makes her current body mass index (BMI) - a calculation of your weight in relationship to your height - fall into the underweight category.  Did she win at the cost of her health?

According to Jan Hangen, RD, a Clinical Nutrition Specialist in the Sports Medicine Division at Boston Children's Hospital, “I worry about individuals who lose such a tremendous amount of weight in a very short amount of time.  They had to have been on a very low calorie diet and will need to remain on such a diet to preserve the weight loss.”   Individuals who chronically consume a very low calorie diet are at risk for not meeting their nutrient needs.  Will she be able to healthfully sustain this weight loss once the television lights dim?

Hangen is also concerned about the message that this dramatic, rapid weight loss sends to the public, especially teenagers and young adults.  “Often times, the public feels as though they have failed for not being able to measure up to what they see on television and turn to disordered eating to lose the weight.”

Did The Biggest Loser really produce a winner?

Be well, Joan

Follow Joan on Twitter at: joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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