Who Should Go?
- Weight loss camp can be considered for any teenager whose weight in proportion to their height puts them into the category of overweight or obese. Teens are considered overweight if their weight is more than 20 percent higher than the average weight for their height. Teens are considered obese if they have a body mass index of 30 or greater. Weight loss camp is especially good for teenagers who are inactive and spend too much time watching TV, playing video games or surfing the Internet.
Physical Activity & Healthy Choices
- At weight loss camp, teens will be on a rigorous schedule that involves a lot of physical activity. Weight loss camps try to teach teens that working out can be fun. Teens are not forced to be strapped to a treadmill all day, but rather are taught fun ways to burn calories such as basketball, softball, running, soccer and swimming.
Weight loss camps also teach teens the importance of healthy meal and snack options. Weight loss camps do not allow the campers to bring any type of candy. Instead, the teens are provided with healthier alternatives such as apples, celery and almonds. Many camps also teach kids how to enjoy foods they love, such as pizza, in moderation.
- Most weight loss camps break the campers down into groups based on age and gender. There are some camps out there that are single sex only, but the average camp is co-ed. At the coed camps, they breakdown living arrangements so that campers share bunks with other campers of their age and gender. This allows parents and teens alike to feel comfortable with the accommodations.
A common way for camps to split up campers is by using the following criteria: pre-teen boys ages 8-12, pre-teen girls ages 8-12, teenage boys ages 13-18, teenage girls ages 13-18 and young adults ages 19-25.
- Most weight loss camps are overnight camps and not day camps. Many camps offer full summer programs from the end of June until the end of August. There are also shorter sessions available at most camps including three-week and six-week sessions.
Changing Long-Term Behaviors
- Probably the most vital part of weight loss camp is for teens to learn the habits and skills to lead a healthier lifestyle once they are back home. The main goal of weight loss camp is not simply to lose weight, but to learn to keep it off. Teens will learn activities and diet tips that they can use in their everyday lives.
Weight loss camps can be the beginning of a beautiful, healthy future for many teens. It's important to remember that no child wants to feel like they are being sent to weight loss camp as a punishment. Parents should sit down with their son or daughter and discuss the benefits of camp and make the informed decision together.