As Shaquille O'Neal gave his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech, the King of the Court looked noticeably heavier, maybe even obese. This is ironic given Shaquille was a weight loss guru with his own Reality TV show "Shaq's Big Challenge."This kids' version of "The Biggest Loser" was praised for fighting childhood obesity and helping overweight kids lose weight. Is Shaq overweight? Should he heed his own advice? It sure worked with kids, despite being canceled. Here's what Shaq did, why kids responded so well, and why "Shaq's Big Challenge" should come back.

Shaquille O'Neal obese anti-obesity fighter?

Shaq's weight is listed as 325 pounds which would be morbidly obese if it weren't for that fact that O'Neal stands 7 feet 1 inch tall. But running a BMI (body mass index) shows Shaquille is still in the obesity category with a BMI over 30. So how could someone who is overweight themselves preach about weight loss? It lies with flaws in the BMI. As a basketball player, Shaq is muscled and very active.

The BMI does not take into account body fat percentage or muscle to fat ratio. Muscle actually weighs more than fat, mass wise. So you could build muscle and not lose weight. But even if Shaq is "fat" it doesn't stop him knowing about health. It strategically places him to empathize with childhood obesity and assist overweight kids.

Physician heals himself and kids

"Shaq's Big Challenge" succeeded for several reasons.

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Reality TV

It hit the problem of obesity where it starts, in childhood. Kids like Shaq, and it was clear he likes them. He could identify with body image issues (standing two heads over the crowd). Shaq and show hosts empowered kids where family members had enabled. They treated children with respect and didn't shame them for being overweight. It didn't push kids to adopt weird super-restrictive diets but taught them healthier eating habits. It could help another obese reality TV kid Honey Boo Boo lose weight.

Reality TV show addresses healthy school lunches

Joy Bauer, food network TV chef Tyler Florence and other health experts on the Shaq show, worked with kids to find good food that was good for them. It helped them understand Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and other disease links to obesity.The show turned kids who'd never eaten a vegetable into veggie-aholics! "Shaq's Big Challenge" targeted schools to improve nutrition, teach urban gardening and other health initiatives, as first lady Michelle Obama has long advocated.

Actually, Shaquille was a pioneer in healthy school lunches before that was a buzzphrase.

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