Thursday, April 26, 2007

"Fat Kids Can't Hunt"

That's the very unfortunate name of a very unfortunate new show being planned in Australia.

According to the report, the premise is pretty straightforward: 10 overweight children spend one month living with Australian aboriginals and during that month, they are only allowed to eat foods that they procure and hunt themselves using traditional aboriginal techniques.

Apparently this is not the first such show as it's mirroring a British show entitled, "Fat Men Can't Hunt" which involved sending overweight men to Namibia with similar rules.

This is wrong on so many levels. From the potential of worsening body image issues in the children, to the show not teaching them anything about how to eat and "hunt" nutritiously in our urban jungles, to the exploitation of these children's obviously desperate vulnerability and lastly to the fact that the show is so outrageous that despite all of my concerns, the voyeur in me wants to watch it.

On a number of occasions I've been approached by television news or morning shows to have them follow a patient through my program. I've turned them down every time. Weight loss is a personal decision and a personal journey and involves changing a lifestyle. Lifestyle change is difficult and I would never want to add the additional burden and pressure of television exposure to any of my patients.

I do worry how this show is going to affect those children.

If this really were a reality television show I'd have them take the parents and not the kids.

[Hat tip to a blog I happened across yesterday - Rudd Sound Bites; an informative and biting blog written out of Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity]