RIO DE JANEIRO, December 17 – Brazil football great Ronaldo, who like nearly half of his country’s population is overweight, has lost 17 kilograms (38 pounds) in three months as part of a television reality show.
Over the past three months the portly ex-striker, now a member of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup organizing committee, went through a series of gruelling physical exercises and dietary reeducation aired every Sunday on the Medida Certa (Ideal Measurements) show.
Sunday night in front of a live television audience, Ronaldo tipped the scales at 101 kilos (222 pounds) and his waistline went down from 107 centimeters (42 inches) to 93 centimeters.
“I have problems with the weighing scales. It’s a real trauma,” he said when the show began in September.
“I have already tackled many challenges and this one will not be easy. Those who have already tried to lose weight know that. But I am getting on with it in high spirits,” he then added.
“We chose Ronaldo to show people that you can have done sport your entire life, if you stop and lead a sedentary life, your body will suffer,” according to his physical trainer, Marcio Atalla, who coordinated the exercises program.
Ronaldo retired last year and disclosed that he had long been suffering from thyroid problems, which caused him to gain a great deal of weight.
He said in September he wanted to be fit for a December 19 annual charity match in which he will take part along with his ex-Real Madrid teammate and French soccer legend Zinedine Zidane in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.
Ronaldo retired prematurely after suffering many knee injuries.
He played for Brazil in 98 international matches, scoring 62 goals and was part of the national squad that won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups.
According to a health ministry report released in April, nearly half of Brazil’s 194 million people are overweight and 16 percent are obese.