The Biggest Loser

Common Sense Media says

Extreme dieting, Survivor-style; tweens and up.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While there's an element of exploitation to this show -- putting people who struggle with their weight on display -- the core message is a healthy (and, ideally, inspiring) one: Eat right, exercise, and stick to your goals.

Positive role models

The contestants' struggles -- and achievements -- make them relatable and realistic. Their speedy weight loss may give some viewers the wrong impression about how "easy" it is to slim down, but they do it all under the guidance of professionals.

Violence

No violence, but team members sometimes argue fiercely after losing a competition.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

"S--t" is bleeped a couple of times per episode, usually as the contestants exert themselves. There are occasional other tirades, including bleeped strong language (even "f--k") by contestants/trainers.

Consumerism

24 Hour Fitness is a sponsor and is plugged frequently. The trainers recommend specific food products, such as Weight-Control Quaker Oatmeal.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality competition series deals almost exclusively with weight loss and the effects of being overweight. The series emphasizes the benefits of healthy, long-term lifestyle changes related to diet and exercise, but the competitive weight-loss angle could potentially encourage impressionable viewers to slim down quickly without a doctor's supervision. The competitors also recount being made fun of for their size and are forthright about worrying that they might not live long enough to see their kids grow up. Their long separation (up to 100 days) from friends and loved ones could also be hard for sensitive viewers.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In THE BIGGEST LOSER, two teams of extremely overweight contestants compete to see who can lose the most weight in 100 days. The prize? Better health and $250,000. Each episode of Biggest Loser follows the 14 contestants as they learn to eat better, exercise, and maintain healthy habits in their efforts to peel off the pounds. All of the contestants have their own reasons for wanting to win the prize. Some come from obese families and want to stop the cycle for their kids; others were once thin and active and want to regain their fitter form. All of them end up on one of two teams (red and blue), where they work with trainers. Over the course of the competition, the competitors work out, eat right, and participate in a series of challenges. Their goal is to make sure that their team has lost the highest percentage of weight at the weekly weigh-in, since the losing team has to vote one member out.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Although Biggest Loser lacks some of the sexiness and drama of reality shows like Survivor (to which it bears the most structural resemblance) and The Bachelor, the contestants' constant togetherness (they live, eat, and work out together) means that there are still plenty of times when the going gets tough. When teams lose challenges, they'll often argue fiercely over who caused the loss or didn't work hard enough. Plus, they're constantly tempted by high-calorie foods and are often nauseated by the strenuous daily workouts.

It would be easy for the show's producers to hype the vanity angle of weight loss. But what's nice about The Biggest Loser is that the contestants -- and, therefore, the viewers -- are constantly reminded that the point of losing weight isn't to look like a supermodel, but rather to live longer, healthier lives. The coaches, while tough, are extremely encouraging and sensitive, and the host acts as both a cheerleader and a sensitive mother hen. Though The Biggest Loser is technically a dogged competition, it's also feel-good fare with a message that everyone can benefit from: Eat right and exercise to be healthy, and the weight should take care of itself.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the realities of a world in which thin bodies are prized, fat ones are scorned, and deliciously unhealthy food is more widely available than ever before.

  • Why is thin so in -- and how do the sculpted celebrity images we see in the media affect our perceptions of our own bodies? Why are chubby children teased -- and why do heavy people so often become the butt of jokes in television and movies?

  • Why do Americans as a whole tend to eat to excess -- are we really that hungry, or are we eating for other reasons? What does "everything in moderation" really mean? Are all diets truly healthy? And is there such a thing as being too thin?

TV details

Cast:Ajay Rochester, Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels
Network:NBC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Biggest Loser was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 12 years old May 18, 2015
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Interesting game show

It is very different and encourages teens and adults to keep healthy
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old March 13, 2015
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Biggest Loser Review

I watched it for about 4 years and i loved it, but now i do not watch it anymore, just got bored of it, but this show shows lots of good messages like never get up, that message is said often in the show. It would be for 6 and up, but some kids could laugh and say oh look those people are fat, so it would take them maybe till 10 years old to actually not make fun of them. I watched this when i was 5 years old mostly because my mom watched it, and anything my mom watches i get into it. Good show for a while, but some parts gets boring.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Parent Written byJunRohI'm18 December 11, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Ask Wong

My name is Wong. And I speak a language called... THE TRUTH! This show must be banned due to its primary consecutive keypoints in regards to capitalism due to its relativity to Barney. And Roh, Roh, Roh, do NOT WATCH THIS SHOW!!! It has INEXPLICABLE VIOLENCE... Just like Valenti... GW!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools