The Biggest Loser: Jillian Michaels Addresses Childhood Obesity

6 years ago by Diana Daley

Trainer Jillian Michaels returns to The Biggest Loser for Season 14 to take on the issue of childhood obesity – Photo: NBC

Trainer Jillian Michaels returns to The Biggest Loser on Sunday to whip a new crop of contestants into shape as the series tackles childhood obesity.

After a two season absence from The Biggest Loser, new mother Jillian Michaels is back for Season 14 with her tough-as-nails, no nonsense approach, alongside returning trainers and top fitness experts Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince.

With Jillian back at the ranch, The Biggest Loser will lead the fight against childhood obesity by including three kid participants in Season 14 who will work out each week while also participating at home. By the end of the season, the three Biggest Loser kids will serve as inspirational ambassadors for other kids around the country.

Ahead of The Biggest Loser premiere this Sunday night at 9/8c, The Deadbolt caught up with Jillian Michaels to learn more about how the show will approach the three children, her views on childhood obesity, and what the country can do to fight the epidemic.

THE DEADBOLT: Can you talk a bit about the new format with the kids and the importance of keeping them focused on their overall health rather than a number on the scale?

JILLIAN MICHAELS: Well, the show hasn’t changed. But the role of the kids on it, they are not contestants. We’re calling them participants. So each team or each trainer has one child that they’re assigned to. The kid is a member of the team but they don’t weigh in. They don’t get eliminated. We work with them at home and they make routine visits to The Biggest Loser ranch.

It’s more about setting goals for them – like I want to be a part of the softball team, I want to be on the cheerleading team, I want to take part in dancing – and helping them live a healthier lifestyle, teaching them how to make foods so they eat healthier, and how to incorporate foods that are less healthy in a healthier way in moderation with balance.

It’s all about building their self-esteem, educating them, and subsequently giving them the support they need with their families trying to get the parents on board, trying to get the parents the information so they can also be a part of a healthy lifestyle.

It’s not just about the child and singling them out. It’s about making their entire family healthy so they have the support they need at home as well.

THE DEADBOLT: What are your personal views on childhood obesity and why it’s such a huge epidemic?

MICHAELS: Honestly, this is an issue that needs to be fought on a myriad of fronts. We can look at everything from our local government, our state government, our federal government, funding of Physical Education, cheap food, big business and we can blame all of those things. But unfortunately it’s also more complex. It has to do with family dynamic as well and parents’ lack of information.

It could be things like parents that love their kids with food, parents that are overweight themselves and associate food with love. That’s a reward. It’s very complicated unfortunately.

THE DEADBOLT: It must be a tough challenge in today’s world.

MICHAELS: We are attempting to combat it personally within the family dynamic by providing awareness towards education. Dealing with this on a federal level or a state level is extremely complex. I’ve been trying to do that my entire career and have made very little movement. As I think you see in other experts in my area, like Jamie Oliver and the like, also do not make much progress.

So while I think that it’s easier to buy the cheap fast food, if we can motivate and educate families then it doesn’t matter if they’re not being supported by the government or by big business. They will have the ability to choose more wisely, to eat healthy in a more formal way and to move more with their kids.

How do you feel about childhood obesity and what The Biggest Loser is doing to lead the fight?

What do you think?

Diana Daley joined The Deadbolt in 2010 as a feature contributor and interviewer. She currently covers The Biggest Loser on NBC and conducts the weekly exit interviews leading up to the finale.