Does Reality Television Help Viewers Lose Weight?

Categories: Talking Points
Could this be you if you watch The Biggest Loser?
For all the studies showing that watching reality television -- OK, all television -- makes us fatter, a new research study whose findings were just reported on Salt, NPR's new food blog, suggests that one kind of reality TV could help you lose weight: weight-loss shows like The Biggest Loser.
In a soon-to-be published Thomson Reuters poll of 3,000 Americans, 57 percent of people say weight-loss shows have influenced what they eat. And 49 percent say they believe the television programs will have a positive influence on the obesity epidemic.
Heartening news or fantasy thinking? After all, conservatives swear that kids who watch Gossip Girl will grow up to be sluts, and liberals believe that impressionable young adults who play too much Mortal Kombat will grow up to play with automatic weapons and beat their children.

It's the same question that fans and detractors of food television have: Will watching Giada and Bobby will make us better cooks, or is it a substitute for cooking? The only proof is what's on the plate.

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Fantasy thinking, of course. I think that peolpe who watch shows like The Biggest Loser are the same that are not willing to do anything to lose weight...

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