You love your child, no matter how he or she looks. However, you also know your child’s health could benefit if he or she lost weight. As child obesity levels rise, one option many parents with overweight children ought to consider is a weight loss camp.
What Is A Modern Weight Loss Camp?
Today, most weight loss camps enroll your child for at least four weeks, and often for eight weeks. This may seem like a long time, but the camp will need this amount of time to instill health habits into your child. Weight loss camps are designed to be both fun and to help your child lose weight. Weight loss camps offer recreational activities like canoeing, sports, and swimming.
Weight loss camps aren’t only designed to help your child lose weight for a few weeks, they’re also designed to help your child to maintain a healthy weight after leaving camp. Most weight loss camps focus heavily on teaching children to maintain their weight once they come home.
What If My Child is Reluctant?
Weight loss camps specialize on overcoming reluctance on the part of children. Many children resist attending a weight loss camp, in part because other efforts to have failed. Weight loss camps are accustomed to this issue and experienced staff are on hand to help. Once the child sees the camp as a chance to meet new friends and participate in new activities, his or her attitude will rapidly change.
Do Weight Loss Camps Really Help Kids to Lose Weight Permanently?
A number of studies show that weight loss camps are effective in helping children to lose weight, not only during the time period they’re at camp, but for months afterwards. Researchers at Leeds Metropolitan University assessed the effect of an eight-week weight loss camp and reported their findings in the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. (Citation1.)
The results of the study were encouraging. The researchers reported that the eight week program, which was located in Massachusetts, helped eighty-nine percent of children improve their BMI (Body Measurement Index) over a one year period.
Over 100 children were assessed. Note that the camp used for this study only moderately restricted the children’s diet and that it emphasized “fun-based skill learning physical activities.”
Do Weight Loss Camps Hurt or Help a Child’s Self Esteem?
In a follow-up study, the same set of researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University discovered that weight-loss camps appeared to improve children’s self-esteem, weight-related issues, body shape preferences, weight, and height. The camp’s focus on the child’s weight appears to help, rather than harm, children’s psychological well-being. (Citation 2.)
While there may be no substitute for parental guidance, sometimes a weight-loss camp is the right fit for many parents looking to help their children lose weight. A weight loss camp can help your child lose weight, gain friends, and improve valuable self-esteem.
1) Children’s weight-loss camps: psychological benefit or jeopardy?, International Journal of Obesity (2003) 27, 748–754.
2) The effects of a children’s summer camp programme on weight loss, with a 10 month follow-up, Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity (2000) 24(11):1445-1452]