There was once a time when the idea of going to a “fat camp” made both young people and parents apprehensive for a number of reasons. The very idea carried a stigma and if a critical child found out that a classmate was going to “fat camp” it was considered ammunition for teasing. The camps didn’t seem like much fun either. Campers had to follow a strict regimen and only had access to a limited selection of food and limited calories. The other component was exercise — a lot of it, often many hours each day. They were thrown into a situation that was out of their comfort zone with kids they didn’t know, with little to no access to their parents or other family. Often, the pounds would come off, but they would return after the child returned home to his old temptations.

Focus Beyond Weight Loss

But weight loss camps have changed. There’s more concern than ever about obesity in general, and especially childhood obesity. While overweight kids do still get teased, the bigger focus is on their long term health, and their quality of life not only as a child, but throughout their adult life.

Wellspring Camps in California, Texas, Wisconsin, New York and Florida are focused on helping families, children, teens, and young adults ages 5 – 26 change their lives by doing more than just lose a set number of pounds. Participants are encouraged to embrace new lifestyle values that will help them reach and maintain a healthy weight and make positive choices to continue their journeys as long-term weight controllers.

The Consequences of Being Overweight

Being overweight as a child can be more than just “baby fat”. Research from top universities reveal that when kids are overweight at a young age, they are more likely to have weight problems as they get older. If they are still overweight as teens, nearly 90% become obese as adults, leaving them at risk for major health problems, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, with some facing early signs of these medical issues even when they are still children. They are also more likely to be alienated socially and suffer psychological problems such as anxiety and depression.

The bottom line is that these young people need real help in order to overcome the odds so that they can get the most out of their lives. This is happening at Wellspring’s weight loss camps. The clinical program at Wellspring Camps approaches healthy lifestyle change in a well rounded way which includes behavior change, diet management, nutrition and culinary instruction, and explores ways for kids to manage their activity levels so they look at staying active as something fun and enriching, rather than a chore.

Putting Concerns to Rest

Going away to a weight loss camp, or any camp, can be hard for any child, not to mention their parents, so some apprehension is natural. But Wellspring Camps are different, because unlike many other weight loss camps, we encourage family involvement so our participants aren’t alone in their efforts to change their lifestyle when they go home. Kids are able to call home regularly, and pictures and blog posts regarding camp activities are shared online so parents can check whenever they want. There are also Family Workshops twice during the summer that parents are encouraged to attend so that they can learn more about how to support their child when they return home.

But going home doesn’t mean that the campers are on their own. Behavioral coaches keep in touch through the Continuing Care Program, which lasts until summer arrives again, giving participants and families nearly a year of active support and further contact by researches for years, unless you request otherwise.

Not Just for Kids

Wellspring camps have several different programs for children, teens, young adults and families. In all cases, programs are developed through scientific research, and are implemented by caring and dedicated staff, because changing your life for the better is always a good idea.