Fact Sheet Index

Information on teen obesity and overweight, quality weight loss camps for teens, weight loss camps for children

Over the past 20 years, obesity among children and adolescents (defined as 95+ percentile body mass index on a growth chart) has skyrocketed from 6% to 15%. This makes overweight and obesity the most common chronic illness among children and teens.. Obesity and overweight are equally prevalent for girls and boys. An additional 15% of children and teens are overweight, but not obese. Many parents are now seeking weight loss treatment programs such as weight loss camps for their children and teens.

The causes of this epidemic of overweight children and teens are both behavioral (high-calorie diets and insufficient physical activity) and intellectual (not knowing how to control weight).

Without weight loss, the consequences can be dire. The direct effects of obesity in children and teenagers are clear and well established:

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus (formerly adult onset diabetes)
  • Hypertension and predisposition for cardiac disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Eye diseases
  • Nerve damage
  • Various gastrointestinal disorders
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Various skeletal and orthopedic problems
  • 80% increase in incidence of obesity in adulthood
  • Obesity in adulthood likely to be more severe with earlier onset of co-morbidities
  • Psycho-social problems (depression, loneliness, low self-esteem)

The percentage of hospital discharges for childhood and adolescent obesity-related diseases has doubled over the past 20 years. The annual cost of hospital care for these overweight young people has more than tripled to over $150 million. In comparison, the number of deaths annually in the United States directly attributed to adult obesity is estimated at 280,000, and total annual costs attributable to obesity-related disease approach $100 billion.

Obesity in teens and children is not only an issue in the U.S. 37% of Canadian children are overweight and 19% are obese. Approximately 20% of Australian children and adolescents are currently overweight or obese. About half of European adults will be fat or obese by 2030, due to increasing obesity among children and adolescents. In Taiwan, 67% of female college students are overweight or obese. Even in coastal Chinese cities, one in every ten children is considered obese.

Treatment Options for Weight Loss ( Weight Loss Camps – Weight Loss Programs )

As parents learn more about the direct and indirect effects of obesity and overweight on children and teens and encounter growing frustration attempting to control their children, they are increasingly seeking professional treatment for weight loss. Many parents are now inquiring about bariatric surgery (“stomach stapling”) for their children – a $20,000 – $40,000 procedure. This procedure can often result in dramatic weight loss if an appropriate after care regimen is pursued. There are also a number of weight loss drugs that have been approved for adults, and are being reviewed as appropriate for children.

However, there is general agreement in the medical community that invasive and risky surgical or drug treatments will never be considered the standard of care for weight loss in children and teens. Instead, because the epidemic of overweight and obesity is behavioral, pediatricians and primary care physicians prefer to refer families to weight loss programs that change behavior over an extended period of time and that include the family in the weight loss treatment program.

Hospital or clinic-based outpatient weight loss programs for children and families have demonstrated some effectiveness and some hospitals have waiting lists. But because these weight loss programs are unable to control the child and family environment, behavioral change is often slow and not permanent.

At present, the only weight loss programs that control the child and family environment – the best hope for long-term behavioral change – are summer weight loss camps. These weight loss camps run for 4-8 weeks and typically change diet, portion sizes and increase physical activity. Weight loss is the typical result of weight loss camps.

Good weight loss camps direct their entire programs at changing behavior over the long term. Sports, activities, educational and clinical programs are all part of an overall clinical design to teach new behaviors and habits. Cognitive behavioral therapy is likely a core element of the weight loss camp clinical program. And because it is unlikely that a child’s behavior will change completely over the course of a summer, let alone one month in the summer, good weight loss camps will provide follow-up or after-care programs, checking in with campers and their families. Exceptional weight loss camps may try to involve families towards the end of the weight loss camp experience in an attempt to change the environment into which the child is returning. Some new weight loss camps are acting as feeders into residential schools, which enroll students for 6 months or longer – a length of time that is likely to allow for substantial behavioral change.

All Healthy Living programs are designed along these guidelines.

About Wellspring Weight Loss Programs

Healthy Living is a division of CRC Health that operates summer weight loss camps and therapeutic residential schools for overweight children and young adults. These Wellspring Weight Loss Programs offer many options for young people.

These programs are designed by leading researchers and clinicians to maximize long-term behavioral change, which will result in substantial and sustained weight loss. Wellspring recognizes that weight reduction and management is a complex behavioral and biological struggle and that most adolescents have an unprecedented level of freedom in determining their own lifestyle. This is why Healthy Living Academies’ intensive clinical programs provide young people with the necessary tools, decision-making skills and new behavioral strategies and habits to change their behavior and resist an environment that researchers are calling “toxic” or “obesogenic,” meaning that becoming overweight is a natural response to the environment.

About Wellspring Camps

The first comprehensive treatment programs for overweight children and young adults began at Wellspring. Wellspring’s clinical program has been designed by leading researchers and clinicians to maximize long-term behavioral change, which will result in substantial and permanent weight loss, driven by a Web-, e-mail- and phone-based self-monitoring program administered and tracked by Wellspring clinicians. And it all happens at two incredibly fun summer camps. After a summer at Wellspring, you’ll return home. Weight loss camp locations include New York, California, Texas, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and North Carolina as well as the UK and Australia.

Related Site: Fat Camps