For years weight loss camps for kids were often referred to as “fat camps”, and were thought of as places filled with desperate, overweight children forced into a program of near-starvation and rigorous exercise in exchange for quick weight loss. With the dramatic rise in childhood obesity over the past twenty years, this perception has changed.
For many busy families today, fast food and sugary drinks have become part of the daily diet. Computers and video games have replaced physical and outdoor activities. Indeed, children are driven everywhere, even just to go just a short distance! It’s not surprising that chubby toddlers grown into overweight or obese teens. Today’s weight loss camps are designed to address these issues. Rather than “fat camp”, their programs are described as “weight loss camp” or “fitness camp”.
The best weight loss camp for children is one where they learn to change eating and exercise habits in a way that will benefit them long after they return home. At our weight loss camps, we teach kids the relationships between eating and exercise, and why that is important in establishing a healthy lifestyle.
The benefit of attending a fitness-focused for kids is that children are with others in similar situations. It is difficult for overweight children to keep up with normal weight friends in a gym class, and often they don’t try. Among kids with the same weight issues, the obese child is more likely participate as much as he can. The fear of being ridiculed disappears when the only competition is with those others who are struggling in the same ways. Mean looks and comments are replaced with the excitement of other kids cheering them on.
A week, a month, or a summer at a weight loss camp will not undo years of overeating and sedentary behavior, but provide a foundation for a healthier future.