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Overnight Summer Camp - How To Choose The Best Weight Loss Camp For Your Child

Mar 26, 2008
Twenty-five years ago weight-loss camp campers were mostly teenage girls who were at least 100 pounds or more overweight. The menu usually consisted of food such as beef liver, fish and alfalfa sprouts and the only form of exercise was running and doing sit-ups. The ultimate goal at these overnight summer camps is to lose as much weight as possible in as little time as possible. They were often considered special needs camps. There are also many teen and adult weight loss camps.

Today things are a lot less extreme than they were in those days - approximately 39 percent of the campers are boys, the kids usually need to lose between 21 and 41 pounds, the menus offer a much broader range of food, and the exercise is a lot of fun, with activities that include fun sports like tennis and kayaking. The weight loss camps today emphasize very healthy lifestyles and long-lasting skills that the kids can take home with them and actually put into use.

To summarize, these so-called "fat camps" usually resemble regular overnight summer camps and just happen to specialize in teaching excellent decision-making techniques as they relates to food.

Now according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 16 percent or so of children from ages 6-19 are overweight or obese and this number that has tripled since 1981.

The number of overnight or sleepaway weight loss camps has remained about the same. There are about 16 to 20 of these camps out of 10,000 sleep away camps in the United States alone with some of these having offshoots in other locations. There are many other weight loss camps in other countries.

In most of the overnight summer camps the children will be between the ages of 7 and 12. This age group tends to be most successful because parents have more to say about the child's eating and exercise habits. Usually bad eating habits are less instilled in the younger children.

All sleepaway fat loss camps work at building good habits, not just dealing out quick fixes. You will find these camps have classes on good nutrition, proper portion control, emotional eating, handling situations like pizza parties, birthday parties and ice cream parties.

You'll find they teach by example. In the old days weight loss camps offered 1,250 to 1,350 calories each day. Today they're more realistic, usually about 1,800 to 2,000 calories daily. On the menu along with healthier foods you'll also find there are hamburgers, pita pizzas, baked potato chips and low-fat baked goods.

It's long been a misconception that overnight weight loss camps don't offer enough food and they overwork the kids. It's actually the opposite. The right amount of food is served and they provide workouts for the kids at the right level. Campers never find they are hungry.

Changing the camper's behavior is the key to sustaining weight loss. Many campers learn to cook, shop for groceries, order out at restaurants, and work with camp psychologists on managing stress, frustration tolerance, and identifying emotional eating.

Generally the campers want to be there. Years ago when their parents made them go they didn't want to. Kids are happier that they're making a change and develop confidence and independence as a result of the experience. They learn to make healthier choices also. Kids learn to feel better, breathe better, run faster and become more active as a result.

Some overnight weight loss camps can cost about $1,000 a week. Many of the camps offer scholarships and that's worth exploring. Your health insurance may cover some of it because of the weight loss therapy. And some churches run free weight loss camps, but may be harder to find.

Choosing the right summer camp for your child may mean doing a lot of research and checking out reviews of weight loss camps. Talking to parents who have sent their kids to those camps would give you some idea as to the successful experience the child has had. Ask the director of the camp you're considering if they will give you some names of previous campers' parents so you can contact them. Cost may be a factor too. There is a wide range when it comes to cost and be sure to compare weight loss summer camp ratings online and offline. Check the public library for Consumer Reports magazine's ratings.

Any overnight summer camp is great because it will force the child to have structured time in the summer and even traditional overnight camps focus on kid's fitness and health, serve healthier food and encourage a lot of exercise. If you can't find or afford a weight loss camp, you should choose a camp anyway even if it's a special camp like arts or science that has some activity. The important thing is to keep overweight kids active in the summer.
About the Author
For more information on choosing the best overnight summer camp or finding the best sleepaway or weight loss summer camp online and offline go to http://www.OvernightSummerCamp.biz a nurse's website specializing in overnight summer camp tips, help, facts, free tuition resources, including information on overnight summer camp reviews
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