Fat Camps: Not a responsible approach to weight loss

Experts deem today’s adolescents among the most inactive and physically challenged generations of all times. No wonder that the biggest health issue of today’s generation during childhood is obesity, diabetes and liver disease. Most parents do not realize the life threatening aspect of childhood obesity until it has reached the point of “do or die”. This is when in a state of utter confusion and panic, parents end up making drastic decisions like sending their obese kid to fat camp for teenagers. The question is, are fat camps the ultimate redeemer?

The pros & cons of fat camps

If asked about the pros of going to fat camps, most children who have been to one will simply say ‘there were others like me there’ and that’s it. But did you just spend thousands of dollars a month just to show your child that he’s not alone in his obese state? I am sure not!

However, the cons of fat camps are numerous. Firstly, they might not be as healthy for your child’s mental health as they claim to be for the child’s body. In most cases children feel betrayed and rejected by their parents for being handed over to strangers to deal with their “fat problem”. Remember that at this age image and body size is a major and very intimate issue, so don’t alienate your kid in this way.

In this regard, Jan Faull, a parent educator and author of four books on good parenting, advises parents to be a role model for their kids by eating healthy and exercising. Another reason why fat camps don’t work is that if family members of the kid do not follow healthy pattern of eating, a relapse into unhealthy eating habits is not just possible, it’s inevitable. Most kids coming out of fat camp with high expectations due to the relentless image reinforcement they received at camp, but they crash and burn when they do not receive the same enthusiasm from the outside world.

Right your wrongs

If there are any drastic measures you have been suddenly prompted to take up for the sake of your child, here are a few options which could make a world of difference:

Encourage and engage your kids in as much physical activity as possible. Remind them that activity melts weight off.
Be your child’s most trusted cheerleader and confidant. Consult a nutritionist and go on a diet that promotes healthy eating in family.
Join a gym together. Help them develop a habit of working out at a young age to promote fitness.
Limit your child’s computer, television and video games time.
Start eating as a family. Prepare healthy home cooked meals and completely cut down on junk food.

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