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Weight Loss Surgery and Television: The Good and Bad Portrayals

Weight Loss Surgery and Television: The Good and Bad Portrayals

Doctor and his syringe

Huntsville, AL – When it comes to weight loss surgery in Huntsville, AL, or anywhere else in the world, it seems to be either a taboo or underrepresented subject matter. This probably comes from the understood social rule of “never talk about a person’s weight.” So, when people do talk about the subject matter or portray it in the media, there are two ways it can happen. Either a series can tackle the subject matter realistically, or it can gloss over the subject matter due to misunderstanding.

The spread of social media and the increase of morbid obesity can give us more opportunities to tackle the issue.  However, there is a good chance that the show will warp the subject through a veil of misconception, stereotypes, or lack of medical knowledge. Also, a lot of people are introduced to the concept of morbid obesity not by a doctor but by a medical drama or reality television. This can lead to disastrous results and further misrepresentation of weight loss surgery.

So, we are going to rate the more popular forms of reality media that tackle morbid obesity, and weight loss surgery. We are going to judge it on the basis of realism, context, and results.

The Biggest Loser-  Heavy Competition, Short Term Results

This series aired in 2004-2016 and is looking to renew in 2020. It stars a dozen overweight to obese people who are looking to lose weight. They become contestants in two separate teams then go through a combination of both strict diet and exercise routines in the form of challenges. Whoever loses the most weight, wins $25 million becoming the “Biggest Loser”.

The show has garnered a lot of controversy over the years. Especially from doctors, nutritionists, and other medical experts.

  • For starters, the contestants are clearly in an insulated environment. This means the minute this contest is over, the people in charge of the program leave the contestants to their own devices.  In a different environment without the tools to cope with the new changes.
  • Second, the amount of weight loss from the excess exercise and starvation created the perfect storm for weight regain. The former contestants not only gained the weight back but had an even harder time getting it off again. Their metabolisms were shot. The diet and exercise regiment they went through completely ignored the rules of metabolic biology. An important piece of the obesity puzzle.
  • Third, this was all done with no oversight from medical professionals. All contestants were required to sign a waiver that stated:” no warranty, representation or guarantee has been made as to the qualifications or credentials of the medical professionals that examine me in connection to my participation in the series”.

The show skews the depiction of how metabolic science and weight loss work. Also, it does nothing to take care of the health of the contestants. Instead, it exists to add to the problem of diet culture and sell products with the logo slapped on them. It does nothing positive for the health of someone going through weight issues.

My 600 Lb. Life – A Realistic Depiction of Weight Loss Surgery and Morbid Obesity

This TLC reality tv series ran for 7 seasons/93 episodes, by a production company located in Houston, TX. It centers around the patients of a bariatric surgeon, Dr. Nowzaradan. It is still running today. Dr. Nowzaradan is the main consulting doctor who deals with extreme cases of morbid obesity. The doctor tells each patient that they need to change their lifestyle immediately. Either that or face the possibility of dying prematurely.

The show takes a documentary-esque approach and does not skimp on the severity of the situation, and most of these cases that are being aired go through the lifestyle change requirements, strict diet and exercise, that are required before insurance will cover the weight loss surgery.

It is one of the more realistic forms of media that portray the severity of the situation regarding weight loss surgery and morbid obesity, along with the risks that entail. It can run the risk of being too somber at times. Also, the show does not shy away from the people who did not try hard enough to change their habits. The show also doesn’t sweep the fact that 6 of these patients died through either extenuating or related circumstances.

Still, it is one of the better shows out there that handle the subject matter.


These two are only a small example of how weight loss surgery and morbid obesity are introduced to the public through media. While it is certainly bringing us to a place where we are talking about it at all, we have a long way to go. So, we should be choosy about how much we believe about the depiction of weight loss surgery.

Do you have questions about weight loss surgery in Huntsville, AL? Maybe you are looking for more topics like this? Feel free to visit