Oprah Winfrey Acknowledges Role in Perpetuating Harmful Diet Culture

International Desk, 12th May: Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has taken responsibility for her contribution to perpetuating harmful diet culture during a recent three-hour live WeightWatchers special. The legendary talk show host admitted to being “a steadfast participant in this diet culture” through her various platforms over the years.

“I cannot tell you how many weight-loss shows and makeovers I have done, and they have been a staple since I’ve been working in television,” Winfrey confessed. One particular moment that still haunts her was the infamous “wagon of fat” incident, where she showcased 67 pounds of fat she had lost after a month-long, liquid-only fast.

“It sent a message that starving yourself with a liquid diet — it set a standard for people watching that I nor anybody else could uphold,” she acknowledged, expressing regret over the unhealthy precedent it set.

Joined by actors Rebel Wilson, Amber Riley, and Busy Philipps, as well as WeightWatchers CEO Sima Sistani and several doctors, the group discussed the brand’s shift from promoting dieting to becoming a weight-health company, providing medical intervention through drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy.

Emphasizing body acceptance and destigmatizing medical aid for weight loss, Winfrey stated, “The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift — and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for.”

In a move to avoid conflicts of interest, Winfrey stepped down from the WeightWatchers board of directors after nearly a decade of service. She subsequently donated all her shares to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, ensuring transparency in her intention to broadcast a show about prescription weight-loss medications.

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