By Jennipher Walters
May 24, 2011

We all know that stars on TV can change trends - just think of the haircut revolution Jennifer Aniston created on Friends! But did you know that TV stars' influence goes far beyond fashion and hair? Yep, according to a recent survey, those characters on TV who live healthy lifestyles actually serve as role models, encouraging viewers at home to be a little more fit and to eat a little more healthfully.

According to viewers polled online in the Healthy at NBCU "What Moves Me" survey, appearance and modeling what they see on television sometimes matters more than even what viewers' physicians say. A total of 57 percent of those surveyed said that their appearance was a bigger incentive to lose weight than advice from a physician. Sixty-three percent agreed with the statement that "I am more aware of different types of health topics because I've seen them covered on television shows." More than half agreed that television personalities who lead healthy lifestyles are role models for viewers. And one in three respondents said they are more likely to be inspired to lose weight by seeing a television show about everyday people transforming themselves through diet and exercise, than if their doctor warned them of their own health dangers.

TV shows and characters can do this through straight-up education (like the trainer's tips on The Biggest Loser) or by simply showing healthy behaviors on shows, evoking the monkey-see-monkey-do phenomenon from viewers at home. The TV station NBC is banking on this for its "Healthy Week," which runs May 21 to 27. The special week is part of Healthy at NBCU, NBC Universal's company-wide health and wellness initiative, and What Moves Me, a digital campaign featuring a behind-the-scenes look at how its stars stay healthy. The campaign features interactive content from more than 25 TV stars, as they share their guilty pleasures, healthy snack recommendations, workout tools, personal health advice and favorite workout songs.


Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites and A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.