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Press release from PR Newswire

Thomson Reuters Poll Finds Half of Americans Believe Shows Like The Biggest Loser Have Positive Impact on Obesity Epidemic

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thomson Reuters Poll Finds Half of Americans Believe Shows Like The Biggest Loser Have Positive Impact on Obesity Epidemic18:16 EDT Tuesday, September 20, 2011Most Viewers Say Programs Influence Their Eating HabitsANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Half of Americans believe weight loss-themed reality television has a positive impact on the country's obesity problem, according to a new survey from the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters.The survey was conducted to gauge attitudes on the role of reality television in influencing behavior. Respondents were asked if they regularly viewed weight loss-themed reality shows, whether those shows have influenced their personal habits, and whether they thought the shows would have an effect on the nation's obesity epidemic. Results were sorted by age, income and body mass index (BMI).Among the 15 percent of respondents who regularly watch weight-loss themed television programs such as The Biggest Loser and I Used to be Fat, 57 percent said the shows have influenced their eating habits.  Forty-eight percent said their exercise habits had been influenced.The impact was found to be the greatest among people whose BMI qualify them as overweight or morbidly obese. Seventy-two percent of morbidly obese respondents who regularly watch weight loss-themed TV said the shows influenced their eating habits, while 73 percent said their exercise habits were influenced by the shows. This number drops to 25 percent among normal-weight respondents. The results also showed that weight loss-themed reality shows have a strong influence on younger viewers. Respondents age 35 and younger said they watched weight loss-themed programming with the most frequency (20 percent). Of those, 71 percent said they changed their eating habits and 73 percent said they altered their exercise regimens. They also were most likely to believe in the positive impact of weight loss TV on the country's health (59 percent)."The obesity epidemic is a real problem for our country, and our survey suggests that television can be a big part in the solution," said Raymond Fabius, MD, chief medical officer of the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. "As we've seen in effective health and wellness programs, witnessing the success of others increases engagement. Prime-time television shows have a unique power to get millions of viewers involved ? particularly, as the survey shows, those with the greatest need.""At the same time, we know the real challenge with weight loss is sustaining it," Fabius said. "I would encourage the networks to provide prizes a year or two later to celebrate and showcase success maintaining a healthy weight. Without sustainability there is no improvement of health outcomes."The survey is powered by the Thomson Reuters PULSE(SM) Healthcare Survey, an independently funded, nationally representative telephone poll that collects information about health-related behaviors and attitudes and healthcare utilization from more than 100,000 US households annually. The figures in the poll are based on 3,012 participants interviewed from September 1-13, 2011. The margin of error is 1.8 percent.About Thomson ReutersThomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals.  We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization.  With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 55,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. For more information, go to SOURCE Thomson ReutersFor further information: David Wilkins, Director, Public Relations, Thomson Reuters, Healthcare,, O: +1-734-913-3397, M: +1-734-223-3269