Obese TV show contestants 'put at risk'

The ongoing love affair between the American networks and the extremes of reality TV has led to accusations that ABC television has subjected seriously obese people to unacceptable levels of risk in its new show, Fat March.

Obese TV show contestants 'put at risk'

The network has filmed a dozen contestants who weigh up to 235kg (37st) as they complete a 575-mile walk between Boston and Washington. The show follows the group over 10 weeks, with contestants walking up to 10 miles a day, and is billed as a responsible exploration of weight loss. Critics say it has placed the contestants at risk by encouraging them to physically exert themselves in a search for financial gain.

The programme has a prize pot of $1.2m (£600,000) split between the 12 contestants that diminishes by $10,000 for each finalist with every member who drops out of the march. One contestant, Anthony, 25, is filmed going to hospital with dehydration. He weighs 186kg (29st 3lb) - a drop of 10kg since he began the walk. The heaviest contestant, Shane, 34, who began filming at 235kg (37st) , also had a spell in casualty complaining of blisters and pain in his feet. Kimberley Kearney, 39 and weighing 124kg (19st 5lb), quit the show early on. "I was in excruciating pain. The base of my spine felt like I was being stabbed," she told USA Today.

The group is accompanied by two fitness trainers and is conceived, ABC says, as a "life-changing journey". But cardiologists said severely obese people already face the possibility of heart and other conditions and exercise should be carried out progressively and carefully. "This show is dangerous for lots of reasons," said James Rippe, a cardiologist at Tufts University in Boston.

The Guardian

Last Mod: 21 Ağustos 2007, 23:33
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