Should You Send Your Kid to Weight Loss Camp?

Should You Send Your Kid to Weight Loss Camp?

You could hurt their feelings, or they just might have a great time.

Summer is the perfect time for fun with friends and family and days spent relaxing in the sun.

For some it’s also a time to think of losing weight. When it comes to children and obesity, shedding a few pounds can make a big difference down the road. It can help your child avoid complications such as being obese as an adult, developing type 2 diabetes, and suffering from an increased risk to their cardiovascular health, sooner.

But should you tell your kid they need to lose weight? It’s a tricky topic. Often when it comes to weight loss, obese children are raised in families that tend to be heavier. Eating patterns and lifestyle factors are learned and passed down.

Going to weight-loss camp is an option for kids, and if they’re up for it, research shows their health can benefit.

Related: Here’s Why Your Kid Should be Swinging

“Weight loss is like beating addiction, you have to redirect the social environment to be successful,” said Nadim Kanafani, M.D., corresponding author of a study published in Pediatrics and assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

“When a child can interact with others struggling with the same problem it helps sustain their weight-loss effort, and they are more likely to improve both physically and psychologically,” she added.

According to researchers, obese children often feel awkward engaging in physical activities like running, jumping and general physical play, because of their health and fitness. This can make them withdraw from the very activities they need, and cause them to make unhealthy lifestyle choices.

But when obese children are placed together to focus on losing weight and improving their fitness, this can be reversed.

“When kids support one another good things happen,” said Kanafani. “These peer-supported groups spark positive changes in motivation, eating behavior and body image.”

For a list of weight loss camps for kids in the U.S, click here.

Photo credits: winnond/

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