NEW YORK: Television already has "The Biggest Loser." Dr. Mehmet Oz is looking for the biggest number of losers.
"The Dr. Oz Show" said Monday that it had netted its 1 millionth participant in its "transformation nation" health effort, and the number is climbing. One of those people will win a $1 million prize in May.
Since September, Oz has urged viewers to participate in his health challenge, done together with Weight Watchers. The number of registrants has increased steadily to a point that Oz said he'd never imagined the program would reach.
"It is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," Oz said.
Oz's program has seven steps, starting with the simplest: Tell a friend to get some moral support. Participants are asked to register with Weight Watchers and go to a center to have their body mass index calculated. Other steps include connecting with a doctor, learning your family's health history, getting more sleep, managing stress better and starting new fitness habits.
A sample of 96,000 registrants who had weighed in at Weight Watchers determined they had collectively lost 672,000 pounds, or an average of 7 pounds per person, the show said.
The show will select 10 finalists that it believes best embody the effort — not necessarily those who lose the most weight — and viewers will choose a favorite this spring for the $1 million prize. People need to register by Feb. 26 to be eligible.
Participants are sent weekly email reminders by the show of things they need to do to reach their goals, tailored to their individual circumstances.
"Fundamentally, it's about making it easier to do the right thing," Oz said.
Oz also said he hoped the project would be a model for using TV to accomplish worthwhile goals.