Fat camp used to be a place where fat kids went to try and shed some pounds but the stigma associated with attending fat camp often negated all the benefits of going there.
MTVs new show, Fat Camp, recently highlighted Camp Pocono Trails near Pennsylvania PA and showed how today’s fat camp is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, Fat Camp can be a fun way for kids to learn about being healthy and fit while making new friends who are experiencing the same kinds of issues they are and having some fun in the process.
Fat Camps are not a new idea. They have been around for some 40 years or so. While the focus of these camps is to learn how to eat properly and get fit, they also offer many of the traditional camp activities like swimming, sports and arts and crafts.
Today’s kids are being influenced by more and more electronic entertainment that requires little movement beyond a game controller in ones hands. Television and video games have produced a generation of couch potatoes and the result is an increase in childhood obesity. The CDC has made surveys around this and shown that approximately 17% of our children are somewhat overweight by age y. For many kids, this is a trend that lasts a lifetime. Overweight kids turn into overweight adults unless their is a pattern interrupt early on. Studies show that if a child is still obese by the age of about 15, he will continue to be obese into adulthood.
One of he key components that fat camps teach kids about is their diet. Not only do they teach kids what not to eat, but how to select foods that are better for them and the all important concept of portion control. This allows the kids to eat stuff they like while still gaining the benefit of their newly learned concepts and skills. As they begin to lose weight, they become more and more encourage and often continue eating in a way that helps maintain their weight after they are done with fat camp.
The next thing that fat camp focuses on is exercise. As we all know, children (and many adults) are generally lazy and do not like to exercise. Fat Camp uses fun activities like sports and games, to teach the kids how they can include some form of exercise in their daily lives. The idea is to introduce them to fun outdoor activities that will keep them away from the television and the video game, at least part of the time.
While Camp Pocono Trails was the one featured on MTV, there are other fat camps all across the country including Camp Shane in New York, Camp Shining Stars in North Caroline and Camp Vanguard in Florida. In fact I am sure that if you look, you would probably find more than one fat camp in just about every state in the union.
Parent’s who are concerned about their children’s well being can take heart. Fat camp is here for the long haul. It’s been here for a long time and it will probably be here for a long time to come, so if you have a child that could use some time at a fat camp, don’t be afraid to enroll them.
They may now like it initially, but in the end, they’ll thank you for it.