We are all aware of the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, but what is being done to resolve the problem? Besides the need for good parenting to instill a healthy lifestyle in children, health insurers and employers must now pay the cost of screening children for obesity and provide them with appropriate counseling, as per a recent New York Times article by Reed Abelson.
Federal programs to fight and prevent childhood obesity are obviously necessary, as about one in three children are overweight or obese. However, few models exist to help children achieve effective weight loss and maintain a healthy weight long-term.
There have been many community efforts aimed at healthy lifestyles for children, including Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, urging nutrition and exercise for kids and their families. There is now a serious demand for programs aimed towards children who are already seriously overweight or obese. For example, Weight Watchers is working on developing a program for children and teens. Drug companies and medical device makers are testing some products on children, which many would consider a controversial topic.
Any adult who has tried to successfully lose weight knows how difficult the process can be, and it is even more difficult for a child or teen who is still growing and developing. Experts say that in order for a child or teen to achieve successful weight loss, the whole family must be involved- eating healthy meals together, participating in physical activities together, and not just sitting around in front of the television.
UnitedHealth has already developed a pilot program in partnership with the YMCA. Sessions at the Y allow children and teenagers to discuss their struggles with food and exercise, and are meant to be a friendlier, more cost-effective alternative to hospital programs. These sessions are accompanied by a parent and are meant to educate the family about healthy food choices, why the child may be overeating, and how to balance eating with physical activity.
The most important piece of the puzzle comes down to the whole family’s involvement in a healthy lifestyle. Children and teenagers often struggle to commit to a drastic change in their routine and often rebel against a strict regime, not thinking about long-term effects.
Camp Shane weight loss camp for children and teens makes small adjustments to the campers’ lifestyles to encourage healthy habits at home, even once the summer is over. It is also a fun way to lose the weight and not “boot camp” style, like many other strict programs. Camp Shane also offers seminars, workshops and other materials for parents in order to involve the whole family in a healthy lifestyle.
Camp Shane has weight loss camp locations in New York, Georgia, and California, as well as a not-for-profit weight loss camp scheduled to open in New York. For the parents looking to lose weight, Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts weight loss program for adults is located in New York and are planning to open a year-round facility as well. For more weight loss tips, recipes, and articles, follow @campshane and @shanedietresort on Twitter and Facebook.