Britain used to ship convicts to Australia. Now it is about to send overweight youths.
New reality television series “Fat Teens Can’t Hunt” — a kind of “Survivor” meets “The Biggest Loser” — will see 10 overweight British teenagers sent to Australia’s outback to live and eat with remote Aboriginal communities.
They will survive for a month on “bush tucker” including witchetty grubs, local berries and grasses, or go hungry in a program “Big Brother” producer Endemol says is aimed at helping overweight children tackle overeating.
“Britain has the fattest teenagers in Europe with one in three overweight or obese. Doctors warn that if we don’t tackle this problem, generations of kids face a drastic reduction in the quality and longevity of their lives,” Producer Bridget Sneyd told Britain’s The Sun tabloid newspaper.
The program, made for BBC3, will be similar to “Fat Men Can’t Hunt,” which featured a group of overweight men living in the deserts of Namibia.
But the new series will star boys and girls aged 16-19, following them as they trap and forage for food. Producers are still searching for a suitable location and are seeking a volunteer Aboriginal community.
Native Australian foods eaten by Aboriginals for 50,000 years have become recently popular with Australian chefs, including buffalo steaks smoked with banksia cones, meat and fish seasoned with seeds and lilly pilly berries soaked in honey.
“For them to realize where the meat actually comes from and to actually trap a small game bird and eat it is really, really special,” creative director Sara Ramsden told Australian Associated Press.
But nutritionist Jenny O’Dea, who works with adolescents at Sydney University, said the show could cause serious psychological problems for both participants and viewers with its “blame, shame and humiliate” approach.
“Children don’t need to hunt and catch their own food. Their parents need to put good food in front of them and make sure they eat it,” she said.