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SOCIAL MEDIA ERUPT OVER 'BIGGEST LOSER' WINNER

Thursday, 06 February 2014 07:19 Published in Health & Fitness

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A day after Rachel Fredrickson won the latest season of "The Biggest Loser," after shedding nearly 60 percent of her body weight, attention wasn't focused on her $250,000 win - but rather the criticism surrounding her loss.

Experts cautioned that regardless of her current weight, the criticism being levied on social media about her losing too much isn't helpful. A more constructive message is needed, they say, centering on body image and healthy living.

The 5-foot-4, 24-year-old Frederickson dropped from 260 pounds to 105 under the show's rigorous exercise and diet regimen - but also time spent on her own before the finale. She was a three-time state champion swimmer at Stillwater Area High School in Minnesota, and said she turned to sweets for solace after a failed romance and gained the weight over several years.

Frederickson's newly thin frame lit up Twitter on Wednesday, with many viewers pointing to the surprised expressions on the faces of trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper during the show's Tuesday night finale. Many tweeted that Fredrickson looked anorexic and unhealthy, while others congratulated her for dropping 155 pounds.

Frederickson's body mass index, a measure of height and weight, is below the normal range, said Jillian Lampert, senior director of the Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment program based in St. Paul, Minn. But she said the criticism directed against Frederickson isn't helpful.

"As a society we often criticize people for being at higher weights - that's part of why we have the TV show `The Biggest Loser' - and then we feel free to criticize lower weight," Lampert said.

A more constructive message to send young people would center on well-rounded health and the importance of eating well, moving well and sleeping well, she said.

"We certainly see a lot of people who struggle with eating disorders who use the same behaviors on that show to an extreme," she said. "That can't be helpful."

Joanne Ikeda, a dietitian and retired faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley's Department of Nutritional Sciences, added that focus needs to be on embracing body-size diversity.

"We are just obsessed with body size, women particularly. There's just tremendous body dissatisfaction," Ikeda said. "I'm sure even if she was the exact right size, someone wouldn't like the look of her fingers or the length of her hair."

"We should be happy we don't all look like Barbie and Ken," she said.

A listed phone number for Frederickson couldn't be found by The Associated Press late Wednesday. During an appearance on "Access Hollywood," Frederickson didn't directly respond to the criticism but said she intends to live a healthy lifestyle going forward.

"My journey was about finding that confident girl again. Little by little, challenge by challenge, that athlete came out. And it sparked inside me this feeling that I can do anything I can conceive. And I found that girl, and I'm just going to embrace her fully," she said.

In a statement released late Wednesday, NBC said it was committed to helping all of the show's past contestants live healthier lives.

Among the social media commentators was 36-year-old Shannon Hurd, who tweeted that Frederickson looked weak and unhealthy. In an interview Wednesday with AP, Hurd said she became anorexic at age 16 and has been recovering since she was 19.

"Looking at her `after' photo, I guess I saw ... a piece of myself way back when, and it really just struck something deep down," Hurd said from her home in suburban Denver. "I don't know if she's anorexic, but I do think her weight loss is so extreme there is no way her loss can be maintained through normal habits, and unfortunately that leads to distorted thinking."

---

Follow Jeff Baenen on Twitter at -HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/JEFFBAENEN

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

Arch grounds project will be delayed again

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 10:33 Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - It will take longer than expected to complete a $380 million renovation project on the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a construction schedule released Tuesday says the project is not expected to be completed until the end of December 2016.
Project supporters had hoped to finish the renovation by the Arch's 50th anniversary in October of 2015. A six-month delay was announced last fall.
The National Park Service's new timetable includes a one month delay for the park over Interstate 70, five months for the Arch grounds' north park and seven more months for the south park.
A renovation of the bathrooms in the museum under the Arch will be the last component finished.
 

Missouri goes cold, loses 68-58 at No. 3 Florida

Wednesday, 05 February 2014 00:38 Published in Sports
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Missouri had one scoring drought that cost it a chance at beating No. 3 Florida.
 
The Tigers went 4-plus minutes without a point in the second half, a scoreless stretch that proved to be the difference in a 68-58 loss to the Gators on Tuesday night.
 
Jabari Brown led Missouri with 15 points while Jordan Clarkson added 14. But neither came through when the Tigers needed them most.
 
Michael Frazier II got hot in the second half, hitting four 3-pointers. His third one in a 2-minute span put Florida ahead for good, 51-48. Patric Young's driving layup with 4:10 remaining gave the Gators (20-2, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) a 58-48 lead.
 
"They made shots and we didn't. That's pretty much it," Brown said. "I don't know what else to say about it. We got some good looks, but we didn't make the shots."
 
Missouri's 3-point shooting kept the Tigers (16-6, 4-5) in it for much of the game.
 
Missouri made 8 of 21 from behind the arc, but just 4 of 13 in the second half.
 
"We knew it was going to be a slugfest," coach Frank Haith said. "We were OK with that. ... Our game plan was good and we were executing. Then they got going. They got it in the paint, they got to the free-throw line and got aggressive there in the second half, and that was the difference in the game."
 
Frazier finished with 14 points. Scottie Wilbekin had a career-high 19. He was 13 of 16 from the free throw line, most of them down the stretch. Young chipped in 13 points and six rebounds.
 
But Frazier's 3s were the key.
 
"He's one of a kind," Wilbekin said. "There's not too many shooters out there that's better than Frazier."
 
Florida coach Billy Donovan notched his 16th consecutive 20-win season. Only Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski have longer active streaks.
 
Donovan's current team has some issues — shaky free throw shooting and few long-range threats outside Frazier — but the addition of Chris Walker could increase Florida's chances of making another deep run in the NCAA tournament.
 
A forward from Bonifay in Florida's panhandle, Walker sat out 12 games, or 40 percent of the season, because the NCAA determined he "received preferential treatment from five people, including two agents." The NCAA said Walker and people close to him accepted free cellphones and service, airfare, lodging, meals and apparel while he was a prospect.
 
"I was like 16 or 17," Walker said. "I really had no idea about the rules and everything."
 
Walker was ordered to donate the $270 received from the agents to a charity of his choice and serve 80 hours of community service.
 
After failing to qualify academically and spending the fall taking online classes to gain eligibility, Walker joined the team Dec. 14 and has been practicing since. His debut, though, was on hold as the NCAA wrapped up its investigation. He was cleared to play last week, setting up his much-anticipated debut.
 
Walker had four points, two rebounds and two blocked shots in 7 minutes. Both of his baskets came on thunderous dunks in the final 2:07 of the first half. He finished alley-oops from fellow freshman and former AAU teammate Kasey Hill. The second one had the O'Connell Center rocking — but just briefly.
 
Brown hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer a few seconds later, giving Missouri a 28-25 lead.
 
But it didn't last, mostly because Florida started playing inside-out and clamping down on defense.
 
"They're a veteran team. They've played together for a long time," forward Ryan Rosburg said. "They have seniors and that's what you expect. We knew that coming in here. ... And if we wanted to win, we had to make those plays down the stretch and we didn't."

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