Childhood obesity is a serious issue, because too many pounds can cause major health problems in children and adolescents. If your child is overweight, a weight-loss camp may help him slim down and develop healthier habits. We address some common concerns about sending children to weight-loss camp, to help you can make an informed and healthy decision for your child.
1. How do I know if my child needs to lose weight?
Obesity is not in the eye of the beholder; it's not up to you to decide if your child needs to lose weight. Weight problems should be identified by a doctor or other medical professional, using charts and graphs that determine an appropriate weight for a child based on his age, height, and build. If you have concerns about your child's weight and are considering enrolling him in a weight-loss program, be sure to discuss your plan with his pediatrician. Make an appointment to have your child examined before making a decision.
2. Will sending my child to weight-loss camp negatively affect his self-image?
Studies show that weight-loss camps typically improve self-image and build confidence. However, you are right to be concerned about your child's self-esteem, and you should tread carefully when approaching your child about his weight. First, do not use such terms as "obese," "fat," or "chubby." Emphasize that you are worried about your child's health, not his appearance. Reiterate that he is beautiful, but explain to him the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle. Tell him that you are troubled by the prospect of diabetes, heart disease, and other potential medical ailments.
Some children may worry about being ridiculed by friends and schoolmates as "the kid going to fat camp." Tell your child that weight-loss camps typically offer an array of fun summer activities, just like any other camp. Tell him that he'll have many fun summer camp stories to share with friends – stories that don't include any hint of attempts at weight loss.