The obese teenagers don't get a lot of the perks and the attention that the adult participants get. In the last couple of weeks, the kids have been treated to some of those perks and they've given the home audience a chance to see what progress that have made.
Dr. Joanna Dolgoff came back to the ranch to show how the kids have improved. Lindsay had pre-diabetes, but no longer is pre-diabetic. Biingo's BMI went from "purple" to "yellow" and has lost 25% of his body weight in about 3 months. Sunny had borderline high triglycerides and non-HDL cholesterol, but her cholesterol panel is entirely normal.
Yes, using specific numbers for kids is a sensitive subject, but we only got Biingo's numbers on weight loss, and they were on a percentage, not how many pounds were lost. And you can draw the conclusion that we only got that figure because Biingo is a boy.
The health improvement for Lindsay and Sunny clearly came from weight loss, so we have some tangible evidence, but not much. Heck, we find out that Biingo's mother lost 5 dress sizes.
Jillian referred to "concrete evidence" that these kids have done some good. We just needed a lot more concrete evidence.
The kids also went through the videos where they got to see their progress. They have lost weight, learned to eat better, and have greater self-confidence.
The Biggest Loser gave us an example of how a child is being inspired by the kids on the show. We get introduced to Breanna, who looks like a normal 10-year-old girl.
Except Breanna used to be rather large. Even though Breana's mother Heidi points out that one doctor thought she would grow into her body, at 9 years old, Breanna was at 186 pounds.
Breanna lost 72 pounds and "feels better than ever." How did Breanna lose the weight?
She said her parents gave her healthier foods, got rid of the junk food, and exercised for a hour a day.
Funny how we can't get specifics about the teenager candidates, but we get numbers from a 10-year-old girl about her weight loss.
Last week, the 3 teenagers got the makeovers and hairstyles. Sunny and Lindsay took to Tim Gunn's advice and encouragement. Biingo wasn't used to this world, but he did come around.
The kids also went through the ritual of going home in their new looks. While their changes aren't as dramatic as what the adults went through, the self confidence they gain hopefully can keep them on a positive path.
Jackson has a frank discussion with his mother over what he can eat that fits in with what he has been doing on the ranch.
His mom suggests sausage. Too much sodium, Jackson says. Vegetables? She has lettuce, but only iceberg.
She focused more on fat and sugar, but not sodium. Jackson pushes the spaghetti squash with low-sodium spaghetti sauce that he and Jeff ate when they were off the ranch.
The other contestants are featured in restaurants with the temptations of the "real world." Their "real world" still involves cameras around and the financial incentive to win the big prize. That isn't the "real world."
The contestants had a pious tone to their newfound knowledge, but you couldn't blame them a little bit, especially since they were home before they had to go back to the ranch.
Joe's twin brother Henry lost 90 pounds while Joe was on the ranch. And Henry likely didn't have anyone yelling at him. Hmmmm. What a concept.
Sunny admitted to her girlfriends that she thought about purging back when she was larger. Biingo's sister, Faith, 19, told Biingo that she was inspired by what he had done.
We should get a better sense of where the teenagers are during the live finale next week. They won't get the dramatic weigh-in that will dominate the adult competition. Hopefully, we'll get a better flavor about what these kids have done, and what that might mean for children who are trying to eat better and lose weight without cameras in the real world.