Rebel Wilson: An Uncontrolled Study of Obesity Treatment

Australian actress Rebel Wilson, star of Bridesmaids and the new CBS series Super Fun Night, is reportedly being pursued by several weight loss companies that would like her to lose weight on their product.

Wilson was a weight loss spokesperson for Jenny Craig in Australia in 2011 when she lost a reported 22 pounds. She ended her relationship with the company when a stipulation in one of her movie contracts required her not to lose any more weight. Word has it that Wilson is asking for “a lot of money” from the weight loss company she chooses, but a lot of money is relatively standard in this category.

Jessica Simpson was reportedly paid $4 million to be a weight loss spokesperson for Weight Watchers. Other celebrity spokespeople have included Marie Osmond, Sarah, Duchess of York, and Kirstie Alley. Jenny Craig announced in August it would begin to move away from using celebrity weight loss spokespeople, focusing instead of their food and one-on-one support.

In our land of barely-there obesity treatment insurance coverage, should we be glad someone is paying for Rebel Wilson to address her condition? Or should we be concerned that Wilson is only willing to commit to treatment if she’s getting a sizeable reward for it?

What message does all this send to people who struggle every day to reach and maintain a healthy weight without coverage or a generous patron — especially when the track record for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight for a celebrity weight loss spokesperson is pretty dismal? Is this the spectator sport of the twenty-first century?

Celebrities have been helpful with other diseases — garnering serious public attention and wiping away stigma. Can we hope for a better approach to obesity?

Click here to read more in Jezebel and here to read more in USA Today.

Rebel Wilson, photograph © Eva Rinaldi / flickr

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