Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Peddling consumption over health: obesity and reality television

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 06 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5510
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

The last time I watched much television, Kylie Minogue had a frizzy perm and was married to Jason Donavon, who sported a dreadful mullet, as I did, and we all drank Castlemaine XXXX. So much of modern television has passed me by—too busy working, changing nappies, and writing poorly constructed, rambling prose. But recently I have been watching The Biggest Loser USA.

To those unfamiliar with it, it features a group of morbidly obese Americans who attend a health ranch for several weeks. Of course, this seems like standard voyeuristic, cheap, exploitive reality television, used to sell cat food, horrible hot chocolate, and rotating leather effect sofas—and you would …

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