Response to ’20/20 Episode on 5/11: Losing It, The Big Fat Trap’

The build up to this episode was strong. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery sent an email to their membership and posted it on their website. The Obesity Action Coalition posted it on their social media outlets. I posted the reminder on our social media sites.

Dr. Robin Blackstone as President of the ASMBS gives multiple interviews. She is, after all, an expert in the field of metabolic and bariatric surgery. She represents an organization of thousands of surgeons, nurses, dietitians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists and psychologists dedicated to the care and treatment of those with obesity and severe obesity.

When I first heard they were pulling the segment with Dr. Robin Blackstone and Melting Mama, I thought it was so they could dedicate an entire episode to bariatric and metabolic surgery and how it is a life saving treatment for so many. Instead we got a 60 minute long sensationalistic expose on practices those of us who are healthcare professionals working diligently to help those with obesity and severe obesity would never support!

Lose 90 pounds in 90 days!

Allow me to illustrate and elaborate on a few points your so called “reporting” missed.

1. There is no magic bullet, miracle discovery or new breakthrough cure for obesity.

2. Obesity is a life-long, multi-factorial, complex, chronic disease process that requires life-long, multi-factorial treatment by dedicated and experienced healthcare professionals.

3. Dobb-hoff tubes and tube feedings are for individuals who are either too sick or too malnourished to sustain their nutrient intake, it is not for weight loss.

4. Celebrities who represent various commercial weight loss programs have access to personal trainers, chefs, therapists and countless others in addition to the pre-packaged food provided while “on the program.”

5. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery is not only safe, it is life-saving when performed by experienced and skilled bariatric surgeons.

  • There are criteria that must be met to have bariatric surgery.
  • The criteria were established by the National Institute of Health in 1991.
  • Comprehensive Center of Excellence programs include access to Certified Bariatric Nurses, Registered Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists and Psychologists or other Behavioral Health Experts.
  • Laparoscopic bariatric surgery has been performed safely and effectively for over a decade.
  • Hundreds of thousands of successful bariatric surgery patients are not only surviving, they are thriving. I am one of them.
  • You interviewed one of them, Beth (AKA Melting Mama).

6. Instead of taking the opportunity to provide factual information from an expert on the most effective treatment we have at present for severe obesity and highlight the recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding how effectively bariatric surgery treats type 2 diabetes, you chose to “reveal” an expose on two surgeons. This story has been in the news for nearly a year. 


I am completely disappointed, irritated and flat out disgusted at the so called “journalism” that went into this ABC 20/20 episode. They completely and totally missed the opportunity to focus on legitimate, successful medically [and surgically] appropriate treatment for obesity and severe obesity. Instead I felt like I was watching a rogue episode of Entertainment Tonight.

Not good ABC, not good-shame on you.  ’20/20: Losing It: The Big Fat Trap’


12 Comments on “Response to ’20/20 Episode on 5/11: Losing It, The Big Fat Trap’

  1. I couldn’t agree more!! The media has done a horrible job with this story and their points are meritless and are certainly no long term solutions to this problem! I hope ABC will realize their mistake in pulling the segments and do another story on what was cut!!

    • Thanks Jeff. I hope they realize the error of their ways and provide something useful. Hopefully HBO’s Weight of the Nation will be a better option.

  2. How can we as bariatric patients make our views know to ABC? I tried to go through their web site but found no where to leave a response to any of their programs. I agree with you whole heartidly.

  3. You expressed my opinion exactly! Although some of the points were – very, very briefly – touched upon (celebs have trainers and other such extra help), all that was really brought out was sensationalism. Definitely not real journalism.

  4. Jouralism…..if it bleeds it leads! WLS is no longer a scary place to go there fore they had to go with the story of the bad doctors. The times are changing though, we obese folks aren’t stupid, we do are homework. Thanks to you, OAC, Melting Mama and the ASMBS.

  5. It is not surprising to me that 20/20 would slant the story like that, because their aim is no to help the various level of obese persons that exist, but to get rating points from the ridicule, discrimination and disrespect leveled at people that suffer from obesity. They love to see are fat behinds crying and upset on air, almost repenting for being fat, and claiming that they are the cause. Like Dick Gregory said in (the State of black America Summit 2011),”What the hell are you putting in my drinking water?” A legitimate question, since most of the cases of severe morbid obesity also suffer from lympedema of the lower extrimides. Like Professor Flodi said, “Fat does not cause lympedema. They are 2 different things.”

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