Are Fat Camps for Kids a Good Idea?


Summer is drawing to a close so the topic of today's post might seem a little late.  But as ABC continues its new show Huge about life at a teenage fat camp, I thought it would be a worthwhile discussion.  Oh, and I also wrote a long post about it yesterday on the blog for the International Food Information Council that I wanted to encourage you to read.

The gist of my article is that if they espouse the Biggest Loser type of approach pictured in Huge, fat camps for kids — or adults for that matter — aren't a good idea.  Cutting out all "fun" foods such as candy and pushing tortuous exercise in the interest of losing weight leads to yo-yo dieting, which can seriously compromise future health.  And isn't health the bottom line reason parents send their kids to fat camp?  Or am I being pollyanna-ish, and the truth is it's more about fitting in?  My answer to that is that fitting in is  a big part of health, but trying to make us all look the same isn't the answer to fitting in.  So regardless, health is at issue.

Because I was trying to control the length of my post on the IFIC blog, I didn't get into another discussion that I thought worthwhile.  It's on the topic of fitting in, too.  What I wanted to say was that fat camps single kids out.  Beyond the stigma associated with singling fat kids out, and assuming that every fat person is unhealthy, the fact is that all kids could benefit from a camp that focuses on health, not just fat kids.  Maybe most camps do.  After all, they get kids moving, out in fresh air, away from the television and computer. The food at the camps might leave some things to be desired but my experience with my kids is that they at least provide balanced meals, e.g, the kids aren’t snacking all day.  So why the need for a fat camp at all?  Let's just put all the kids together and provide the best fun and healthy experience possible!

Did you ever go to a fat camp as a kid?  Did it have the same approach to eating and exercise as portrayed in Huge?  If so, did it help you?

One response to “Are Fat Camps for Kids a Good Idea?”

  1. Don Herd says:

    nice one, thanks for this info

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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