Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back TV Poster Image
Kids work hard to combat obesity in frank reality show.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series highlights the importance of changing your thinking in order to lose and control your weight, as well as developing healthier food and exercise habits to maintain a healthy size. (But very little is said about feeling good about yourself regardless of what you look like or what size you are)

Positive Role Models & Representations

The kids have their ups and downs, but overall they're trying to change their lives. They occasionally mouth off to coaches and instructors -- who are firm but supportive. The kids are a diverse group.


Some of the kids are shown falling down and/or collapsing when participating in exercise programs. Kids occasionally argue with coaches.


The series serves as a promotional vehicle for Wellspring Academy and its weight-loss philosophy.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 8, 10, and 10-year-old Written bygweegwee August 30, 2010

I love Taneisha

I love the show, especially Taneisha. That young lady is such an iinspiration. She is focused and motiivated to do well and lets nothing get her down. I thin... Continue reading
Adult Written bybubbieloon August 19, 2010

not pleased with message

I watched the show where the two oys were reprimanded for throwing things at each other. instead of giving one kid 1 week with nothing to do, how about some su... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 19, 2010
eeeeek! just kidding!
Kid, 11 years old August 15, 2010

- -

A very, very amazing show. This is definitely a good show and the "participants" are great role models.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's messages. What is it saying about both body image and weight loss? How does the media contribute to people’s weight gain/loss?

  • Why do you think these kids agreed to share their stories on television? Do you think their stories will help inspire others?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love reality TV

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