Royal Philips Electronics announced that it is continuing its behind the scenes support of NBC’s The Biggest Loser in the new fall 2009 season. The two-hour season premiere will air on NBC on Tuesday, Sept. 15. Last season (spring 2009) marked the first time in the show’s history that contestants received comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a potentially life-threatening condition in which a person has episodes of stopped breathing during sleep.
Philips Respironics aligned with Advanced Sleep Medicine Services Inc., Nationwide Medical Inc., and Dr. Clete Kushida from Stanford University Medical Center to provide testing, diagnosis, treatment, therapy, and medical equipment to contestants competing in the show’s eighth season. A veteran to the television show, Philips Respironics enlisted these partners to ensure the contestants receive the proper care and treatment while at The Ranch and even after they’ve been voted off and at the end of the show. For contestants who still require sleep therapy, Philips Respironics in collaboration with Nationwide Medical Inc. helps identify a sleep lab in their hometown.
Dr. Robert Huizenga, medical expert for The Biggest Loser who oversees the treatment of the contestants and appears on the television show, explains, “I have put in place a new policy that all contestants need to undergo a sleep study in future seasons. The results have been astonishing after two seasons of testing. Over three-quarters of those contestants tested have needed sleep therapy while on the show.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorders and intermittent sleep problems. An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from OSA, the majority of whom remain undiagnosed and untreated. Obesity is a risk factor. OSA has also been associated with increased risk of hypertension, heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation and Type 2 diabetes.
The diagnosis took place during the pre-season preparation at Advanced Sleep Medicine Services Inc. facilities in California. The results showed that all 16 of the contestants had sleep apnea at the beginning of the season. After the testing, Dr. Huizenga and Dr. Kushida began work with each individual to administer and oversee the appropriate treatment. During their time on The Ranch, Nationwide Medical Inc. consults with the contestants. Philips Respironics facilitated the entire process and provided advanced technologies and patient interface equipment, including REMstar Auto M Series with A-Flex, BiPAP Pro with Bi-Flex, and BiPAP AVAPS. The new FitLife and FullLife masks, along with a variety of others, are being used by the contestants. Philips Respironics also supplied diagnostic equipment: Stardust II Sleep Recorders, RUSleeping RTS Apneic Event Screeners, WristOx Ambulatory Digital Pulse Oximeter, sensors, and EncoreAnywhere.
Pam Minkley, clinical trainer, and member of the on-site Philips Respironics team, explains, “It has been exciting to meet the new group of contestants and to help them understand the importance of sleep and its role in overall health.”
Philips Respironics is dedicated to improving lives through meaningful innovation. Involvement in The Biggest Loser is one way that the company has acted on this mission. To learn more about Philips Respironics’ experience with The Biggest Loser www.philips.com/respironics. Tune in to The Biggest Loser, Tuesday, September 15, 8/7c on NBC.
About Royal Philips Electronics
Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified Health and Well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity”. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 116,000 employees in more than 60 countries worldwide. With sales of $38 billion in 2008, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in flat TV, male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at www.philips.com/newscenter.
About The Biggest Loser
The television show The Biggest Loser challenges and encourages overweight contestants to shed pounds and become healthier. The unscripted and life-altering reality series gathers contestants from across the country to face real-life temptations, while being provided with approved weight-loss skills and resources in an effort to help them transform their bodies, health -- and ultimately -- their lives. Contestants work out under the supervision of professional trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. The series has become a worldwide hit airing in over 90 countries and produced in 25 countries. For more information about the television show, visit www.nbc.com/TheBiggestLoser/.