NBC's Statement on 'The Biggest Loser' Controversy Overlooks One Major Fact
The 15th season of The Biggest Loser came to a finish Tuesday night after Rachel Frederickson was announced this year's grand champion with a weight loss surpassing 150 pounds. After the shock of Frederickson's appearance Wednesday night set in, the show's network, NBC, Rachel Frederickson, and Frederickson's trainer, Dolvett Quince, issued individual statements in defense of the controversial results. However, all three statements managed to overlook one major detail.
Frederickson spoke first, telling Us Weekly that health was always her first priority:
First and foremost, my goals are to be healthy and strong. I'm an athlete and have been an athlete since I was a little girl. I went on the Biggest Loser journey to find that confidence that I lost. Through the challenges I fought to get into the finale, I found that girl again. I'm embracing this new part of the journey.
She added that health was the main priority. "I followed the advice and support of the medical team at the Biggest Loser the entire journey. So it's been natural, and I've enjoyed every part of it. I'm going to continue on that path, maintaining this healthy lifestyle and really just enjoy this new life."
Next up was NBC, who also championed the healthy lifestyles of The Biggest Loser contestants.
We support Rachel and all of the Biggest Loser contestants who have shared their journeys over the past 15 seasons. We remain committed to helping contestants achieve healthy weight loss and live healthier lifestyles, and to inspiring viewers to do the same.
Coach Dolvett Quince rounded out the trio of statements with his own posted to his Facebook page:
Last night's Biggest Loser Finale has sparked a huge reaction and I do not want the day to end without addressing it. Biggest Loser is a journey which has its ups and downs. Please try not to look at one slice of Rachel's journey and come to broad conclusions. Rachel's health is and always has been my main concern and her journey to good health has not yet ended!!
While all three statements flaunt health as their main objective, they all seem to overlook that Frederickson's weight at the finale weigh-in was not actually healthy. With a weight of 105 at a heigh of 5'4," Rachel currently sits at a BMI of 18, which is considered underweight according to the index.
It is understandable that Frederickson underwent a seriously drastic weight loss — after all, this is The Biggest Loser. The objective is to lose as much weight as possible and walk away with a $250,000 check. Frederickson was clearly playing to win and transformed her body in the process. That is no simple feat and her hard work is incredibly admirable. Still, there is a line with weight loss that should be carefully avoided and she may have crossed it when she crossed the finish line.
For the contestants, the weeks spent at home tend to be the most important for losing as much weight as they possible can. We certainly saw that with Frederickson, who dropped nearly four more sizes between Makeover Week, when she was a size 6, and the finale, when she stepped on the scale as a size 0.
However, Frederickson is not the professional here and weight loss can be a tricky thing, especially when a professional trainer is not present to oversee the final — and most important — weeks of the competition. While we can't, and maybe shouldn't, point a finger at a single party alone, in times like this, we look to the professionals for some semblance of acknowledgement of the issue, and yet, neither NBC nor her trainer acknowledged that her BMI is low. Instead, the network and the trainer have hailed Frederickson's success.
They chide overeaters, but when it comes to addressing a possible issue with under-eating or over-exercising, they stay silent. Who's the biggest loser now?