A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- which follows tweens and teens at exclusive weight-loss boarding school Wellspring Academy -- delves into the kids' private and sometimes troubling emotions about being obese and their struggle to lose weight. Discussions about the physical and emotional causes for weight gain are discussed, including low-self esteem, divorce, death, and addiction. The series focuses on the importance of long-term healthy lifestyle changes rather than "quick fix" dieting, but it doesn't spend a lot of time on the idea of feeling good about yourself no matter what you look like.
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What's the story?
TOO FAT FOR 15: FIGHTING BACK follows five obese young people between the ages of 11 and 17 who attend the Wellspring Academy of the Carolinas -- an exclusive weight-loss boarding school where they learn healthy eating habits, participate in structured exercise regimes, and take part in group therapy and counseling sessions led by behavioral coaches. They also take a full load of academic courses. Throughout the process, the tweens and teens work on the physical and psychological challenges they face as obese people, which sometimes include confronting the deep emotional factors that contribute to their dangerously unhealthy weight. It isn’t easy, but they hope that the time they spend at Wellspring will put them on the path to a better life.
Is it any good?
Too Fat for 15 offers an intimate look at the difficult journey that these young adults are taking toward changing their lives. Wellspring’s acclaimed immersion program is designed to isolate students from a world that fuels their unhealthy habits in order to help them make better lifestyle choices; as a result, the show is as much as about the program's success as it is about the triumphs and setbacks of the kids participating in it.
Watching the kids struggle through Wellspring's program isn’t easy, but overall the underscores how their struggles will lead to a healthier and happier life. It also highlights the complicated factors that led to their weight gain in the first place, including fatty food consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, low self-esteem, and addiction. Their efforts to reclaim their lives are inspirational, but the show acts as a sobering reminder of the consequences of the obesity epidemic plaguing America’s children.
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