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Biggest Loser' adds American Idol' celebrity to new season

October 3, 2013
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It's one of America's most popular weight loss shows, and next week NBC's 'The Biggest Loser' will give another 15 contestants the chance to regain their health and their lives while dropping dozens and dozens of pounds. One of those contestants is former 'American Idol' winner Ruben Studdard. At 462 pounds, he is this season's heaviest contestant.

"I didn't go into the show thinking about having a target on my back [because I'm a celebrity]," said Studdard in a telephone interview. "Once I found out how much I weighed at the ranch, I wanted to change that. That was my only concern."

Having a celebrity contestant is a first for the show. Another first was letting the 'Biggest Loser' trainers Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels and Dolvett Quince help select which individuals would make it onto the show. Quince said he is not surprised Americans are still struggling with their weight.  

"I think obesity is still in existence because of the lack of education. People are uneducated on portion control. They're uneducated on quality foods, and I think [bad] habits trickle down," explained Quince via telephone. "We're just chipping at the surface unfortunately."

This will be Quince's fourth season with 'The Biggest Loser.' As a fitness studio owner, author and avid supporter of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the American Heart Association, he said he'd like to see the government get more involved in fighting the obesity epidemic. 

"We need the support of government. We need support from legislators to take and remove certain pesticides from products and high caloric ingredients in foods, to remove them entirely from the agriculture system," he said. 

Quince added that small dietary changes along with exercise can help anyone, not just the morbidly obese, shed a few pounds. 

"It's just about finding what works best for you and your taste buds," Quince said. "And getting into the homes of Americans and teaching each individual that this [or that] isn't actually good for you and this is why is key."

'The Biggest Loser' will kick off Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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