Shaq's Fat Attack

Sure, Shaquille O’Neal gets a real workout on the basketball court. But that doesn’t mean the Miami Heat star turns into a couch potato at home, where he’s a father to three boys and three girls, all under 11. “We play ‘dogman’—when they touch me, I turn into a dog and start chasing them and we run around,” says O’Neal, 35, who lives with wife Shaunie and their blended brood in Miami Beach. “My kids are active. They don’t just play [video] games.”

That’s a point he’ll be driving home with children—and their parents—on his new ABC reality series Shaq’s Big Challenge (which begins airing June 26). The show finds the four-time NBA champion, along with nutritionist Joy Bauer and trainer Tarik Tyler, leading six obese kids on a quest to slim down over six months. O’Neal hopes the show will become a springboard for one of his personal causes: mandatory physical education classes in all public schools. “I want to get people aware,” he says, “that childhood obesity is killing our kids.”

Of the six youngsters on his show (who range in age from 11 to 15 and in weight from 184 lbs. to 280 lbs.), two are considered morbidly obese and at risk for illnesses like diabetes. Not surprisingly, getting the kids to change their habits—they’re asked to ditch pizza and ice cream for baked chicken and vegetables, and to submit to cardio-packed workouts five times a week—isn’t always easy. “It was difficult to give up my second helpings!” says Chris, 11, who started at 206 lbs. But the kids seem to be coming around. “After every workout,” says Ariel, 15, who weighed in at 210 lbs., “you can say, ‘I did something really amazing.'”

To see a clip from Shaq’s Big Challenge, go to

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