I was more than taken aback to read
an official protest from the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
(NAAFA) to the season premiere of The Biggest Loser on NBC.
To cut to the chase, NAAFA believes
The Biggest Loser is harming young, grossly obese children by allowing them to
compete on the show. They say the program underscores a negative stereotype
about overweight kids, forces them to push their bodies beyond acceptable
limits and generally undermines the whole world of fat. Their specific
complaint accused The Biggest Loser of “…trying to profit off the bullying and
stigmatization of fat kids.’
To which I respond: Now, hold on a
Childhood obesity is rampant in
America. And, countless studies have shown that obesity leads to a smorgasbord
of diseases up to, but not limited to, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.
So, why shouldn’t The Biggest Loser
play a lead role in better educating our nation’s youth about the critical role
nutrition and exercise play in leading a long and healthy life? I think the
answer is simple: NAAFA leadership doesn’t want anyone messing with the
lifestyle of its members. In short, they’re telling NBC to back off,
leave them alone and pass along the bucket of wings when they’re finished.
Just like their fellow merchants of
death at the Tobacco Institute, NAAFA bigwigs (that term had to have
been invented for them) think the status quo is just fine, thank you. They
believe that, if our kids want to clog their arteries and damage their internal
organs by stuffing themselves with Big Macs (avec cheese, s’il vous plait),
then so be it. This is America, after all, and no one should be allowed to tell
us what we should, or shouldn’t do.
In their defense, NAAFA cites
statistics showing obese kids suffer all sorts of humiliation, harassment and
hummus (sorry, I was going for alliteration). And, I’m sure that’s true. It
can’t be fun to be the one, 300-pound kid in a classroom full of 80-pound sixth
graders. But, what better way to show the plus-sized ones a path to wellness
than through TV shows such as The Biggest Loser?
I think the biggest loser in all of
this is America itself.
We’ve allowed ourselves to become a
couch potato nation. And, gosh darn it, we don’t like it when someone suggests
we stop stuffing our faces with mac & cheese, haul our carcasses off the
couch and put in some roadwork. That violates the Second Amendment. Or, is it
the third? I’ll check Wikipedia when I polish off this mushroom pizza (con
extra cheese, por favor).
We’re a complacent nation complacent
to stay complacent.
So, if my gut’s right, NAAFA will
win its argument and The Biggest Loser will yank the kids from future episodes.
Which would be a shame. America needs to shape up in every sense of the word:
financially, environmentally and, yes Virginia, even nutritionally.
So, I say, let the fat kids compete
and become role models for their peers across the Land of the Free and the Home
of the Brave. Because if we don’t counter the obesity trend soon, our
grandchildren will be far too sedentary to even field an army, much less win a
And a supersized tip o' the hat to Jackie Kolek for this suggestion.