Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back TV Poster Image

Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back



Kids work hard to combat obesity in frank reality show.

What parents need to know

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

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.

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Premiere date:August 9, 2010
Cast:Billy Porter, Daniel Kirschenbaum, Susan Borgman
Network:Style Network
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old September 19, 2010
eeeeek! just kidding!
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models
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 think it should show us as parents/grandparents that state of bad health that our young people are in. We want them to outlive us so we need to be able to set a positive environment for our kids NOW to end childhood obesity.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
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 supervised exercises> or a paper on how this experience will help later in life? sitting alone for a week is a bad message for doing nothing. nothing!The title is self defeating.


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