The concept of a weight loss camp for teens is not a new one, but with the growing childhood obesity epidemic is catching on. But do they work?
Whilst relatively well established in the US, weight loss camps are springing up in the UK and other European countries as increasingly desperate parents search for a solution to their children’s weight management problems.
Often rather unhelpfully labelled “fat camps”, the aim is to bring about the longer term behavioural changes needed for young people to lose weight and to keep it off. Oh, and they can have fun whilst doing it!
Usually held during the school summer holidays, a weight loss camp for teens usually lasts between two to eight weeks although four weeks is about the norm.
What Can You Expect From a Weight Loss Camp for Teens…?
The principle behind weight loss camps is that by taking the young person out of their usual home and school environment, the habits and routines that have contributed to their weight gain can be broken.
The idea is that by breaking the pattern of destructive behaviour, new behaviours can be established and maintained when the teen returns home.
Now that’s not going to be easy in a couple of weeks so don’t expect miracles! However, a decent weight loss camp for teens should focus very much on long term weight loss as opposed to getting the kids to lose weight whilst they’re at the camp.
After all, they won’t lose a great deal of weight in a couple of weeks!
The effective weight loss camp model combines clinical and behavioural approaches to weight loss with a range of educational, activity and sports based programs.
Something to look out for is the follow up and aftercare support offered as part of the package.
A quality weight loss camp for teens, the ones that we’d recommend recognise that the time subsequent to the teens’ return home is crucial.
A planned series of follow up checks to maintain contact with the teens and family will help to smooth the transition from camp to home.
We’ve come across a range of models employed by many a weight loss camp for teens and to be frank, the only model worth investing your kids and money with is one with a long term behaviour change program.
Don’t judge the success of a camp on how much weight the teens lose whilst they’re there. Granted, that’s a good motivational boost for the kids and for you.
However, it’s how effectively the camp prepares them for the much longer battle to lose weight and keep it off that’s the true measure of a successful weight loss camp.
You may also want to consider camps that involve you as parents at some point during your teen’s stay. Particularly if you’re not confident about being able to recreate the kind of environment that your child needs to help them implement what they’ve learned.
Let’s face it, who’s likely to be doing the shopping and cooking for the forseeable future…you or your teen?
In short, the criteria that we’d use to judge a weight loss camp for teens by would be that it:
We’d suggest that if you’re looking for a weight loss camp for teens, it should meet all of these criteria.
A Weight Loss Camp for Teens – Some Suggestions…
On balance, we’d probably start our search with Wellspring Camps, one of the best established companies in the weight loss camp for teens field with some impressive results.
The company has several camps in the US and has recently opened in the UK.
Other weight loss camps include My Summer Camps, Camp Shane, Camp La Jolla and Healthy Living Academies.
So, does a weight loss camp for teens work? If it meets the above criteria, then it may well be the answer that you and your teen are looking for.
They’re not cheap, but if you’re looking for a fun-packed holiday with the added bonus of successful, long term weight management then a weight loss camp for teens may well be worth a look.