“The Biggest Loser” is bigger, bolder and back in January 2013 with a powerful new mission – to tackle the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic head on. For the first time ever in the show’s history, kids (ages 13-16) will be participating along with 15 adult contestants. New mother Jillian Michaels is also back, ready to whip contestants into shape with her tough-as-nails, no nonsense approach, alongside returning trainers and top fitness experts Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince.
Childhood obesity statistics in the U.S. are at an alarming, all time high: 17 % (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese, with obesity prevalence among children and adolescents almost tripling since 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With the childhood obesity epidemic jeopardizing the health of kids and future generations, “The Biggest Loser” is committed to tackling this critical issue by featuring children this season to serve as ambassadors of change who can inspire kids all over the country to get healthy.
The show’s three kid participants are 13-year-old Noah “Biingo” Gray, who aspires to be a professional baseball player and describes himself as a “skinny kid trying to get out of a fat teenager’s body”; 16-year-old Sanjana “Sunny” Chandrasekar, who juggles Advanced Placement classes and extracurricular activities like singing and tennis, and says that being overweight takes away from her self-confidence and affects every aspect of her life; and 13-year-old Lindsay Bravo, who loved being a cheerleader for two years but gave it up when others started teasing her about her weight, and hopes that by going on the show, she can inspire others to change their lives and get healthy.
The show, hosted by Alison Sweeney, will divide the contestants into three teams in season 14 — supervised by trainers Harper, Michaels and Quince. Each trainer/team will be paired with one child participant who will compete with and contribute to their respective teams. The focus for the kids will be on getting healthy rather than numbers on a scale, so they will not be eligible for elimination and will not weigh in on camera. They will work at both the ranch and at home, and their progress will be featured in every episode.
Along with the trainers and “Biggest Loser” medical staff, the children are also working closely with Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, a childhood obesity expert and pediatrician whose book “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right” features the child-friendly healthy eating plan the kids will follow. Together, “The Biggest Loser” team has tailored an age-appropriate program that will help the children get healthy, achieve their personal goals and transform their lives during the course of the season.
The adult contestants for season 14 of “The Biggest Loser” include Lisa Rambo, a high school special education assistant and mother of four who wants to be a healthy role model for her children and hopes to one day open a special needs gym in her community to help her overweight students; 21-year-old Jackson Carter, the show’s first openly gay contestant who was bullied both for his weight and his sexuality after coming out at age 14, and now works as a volunteer coordinator for an LGBT youth outreach center, and Joe Ostaszewski, a former high school and college football player who continued to eat like an active football player long after his athletic career was over.
Also competing this season are 47-year-old attorney, law firm owner and mother of two Gina McDonald, who is very accomplished in her professional life, but has not been able to get control of her lifelong struggle with weight; 51-year-old police officer David Jones, who at 307 pounds is struggling to keep up with the physical demands of his job, and college professor and communications consultant Michael Dorsey, the heaviest contestant this season at 444 pounds, who wants to be a healthy role model for his young son and says losing weight “just seems like that impossible mountain that I cannot overcome.”
“The Biggest Loser” is a production of Shine America, 25/7 Productions and 3 Ball Productions. Ben Silverman, Dave Broome, Todd Lubin, Lisa Hennessy, Eden Gaha, Paul Franklin, JD Roth and Todd A. Nelson are the executive producers.