Weight loss camp
The goal of the camps is to enhance the health of the campers, help them lose weight, raise their self-confidence and self-image, as well as teach them healthy life skills and choices. These camps provide weight-loss results of two to five pounds per week on average. However, the more overweight the camper, the more they generally lose in these programs. The effectiveness of these summer camps varies widely and usually depends on the quality of the individual program and biochemistry of the attending campers. Adolescents have joined programs over the years with many gaining self-confidence and satisfaction along the way.
Newer programs not only focus on weight loss, but on changing behavior through a combination of training on self-regulatory behaviors and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), as well, to ensure that weight loss persists long after campers return home. Most experts believe these are key elements of an effective program.
In popular culture
Multiple films and television shows have featured programs such as these, including:
- Fat Camp: An MTV Docs Movie Presentation (2006), a documentary television film about five teens at a fat camp, called Camp Pocono Trails (CPT), in the Poconos, Pennsylvania.
- Heavyweights (1995), an American comedy film centered around a fat camp for kids that is taken over by a fitness guru
- "Fat Camp" (South Park), season 4, episode 15 of the animated television series South Park, original airdate December 6, 2000: in the episode, Cartman is sent to lose weight at a fat camp where he discovers a different way to earn money
- The Biggest Loser, a reality television format which started with the American TV series The Biggest Loser in 2004, which centers on overweight and obese participants competing against each other to lose the highest percentage of weight (or most weight) to become the "biggest loser"
- Ellin, Abby (June 28, 2005). "For Overweight Children, Are Fat Camps A Solution?". The New York Times.
- Walker, LM & Gately, PJ & Bewick, BM & Hill, AJ (22 May 2003). "Children's weight-loss camps: psychological benefit or jeopardy?". International Journal of Obesity. 27 (6): 748–754.
- Arehart-Treichel, Joan (August 3, 2007). "ACBT Teaches Obese People How to Think Thin". Psychiatric News.
- "MTV's Fat Camp: Winning Losers With a Lot to Gain". Washington Post. February 14, 2006.
- "MTV cameras follow overweight kids at Camp Pocono Trails". Pocono Record.