Through a critical rhetorical analysis using Bandura’s social cognitive theory as a lens to view The Biggest Loser (TBL), this article illustrates the contradictions between the show’s health promotional aims and its entertainment aims, which show the problems the show creates for health promotion practitioners working on obesity. The social cognitive theory constructs of observational learning, psychological determinants, and environmental determinants emerged from this reading of TBL as central to how the show masquerades as a health promotion tool. This reading reveals that TBL promotes a neoliberal construction of health and obesity that challenges the worldview that many health promotion campaigns take and, therefore, complicates our own efforts to combat obesity. With this revealed, it is suggested that TBL be incorporated into health promotion campaigns only as a foil.
- social determinants of health
- social marketing/health communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Nursing (miscellaneous)