There is a lot of debate about whether the winner of “The Biggest Loser” appeared too thin on the show’s finale.

The more troubling issue is that the show promotes weight loss for money while sending a message to kids that the number on the scale is more important than the behaviors that support it.

With more than 57,000 adolescents and 145,000 adults in Minnesota struggling with an eating disorder, we need to reconsider this message. By paying people who live in larger bodies to live in smaller bodies, and then in this case questioning whether the small body is too small, we are telling kids that you can’t win with weight in this society.

There are many types of eating disorders. Anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder and others can include behaviors from overeating to food restriction, and everything in between. We need to help people of all ages make healthy choices with eating, sleeping, coping and moving so they can be their best selves.

And we need to ask ourselves whether a $250,000 payoff is worth the future health of this individual as well as that of the millions who watch the show.



The writer is senior director of the Emily Program, which provides treatment for eating disorders and related problems.