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Are Weight-Loss TV Shows Too Extreme?

On the heels of "The Biggest Loser" season finale, a new weight-loss reality TV show premiered Monday night: "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition."

The new show (10 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Central on ABC) chronicles eight morbidly obese people as they lose weight over the span of a year. The star of the show is trainer Chris Powell, who guides one individual per show through his or her struggles, both physically and emotionally.

We touched on the topic of weight-loss reality TV shows last month in our praise of the fitness industry's ties to TV, which included Anytime Fitness' work on A&E's "Heavy" as well as a note on one of Anytime's trainers, Kelli Calabrese, who auditioned to replace Jillian Michaels as the head trainer on "The Biggest Loser." (As you may know by now, that job went to Anna Kournikova, a curious choice given that her fame came as a tennis player.)

We were planning to address the recent wave of weight-loss reality shows until we saw this story written by Sandy Cohen of the Associated Press, which blew our idea out of the water. Cohen successfully lists all of the weight-loss reality shows currently on TV and presents a case study of the pros and cons of the genre.

This article and this topic raise a ton of questions: Do these shows paint the fitness industry in a positive light? Is this the best way to represent what personal trainers can do? Are these shows focusing too much on the morbidly obese? Are those individuals losing too much weight in too short of time? In short, are these shows too extreme?

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