Today at GDI Bootcamp, intern Leah Gecheo presented on “Childhood Obesity: National Initiatives and Policies.” Childhood obesity is a critical issue in our country, as 17% of American children and adolescents are obese. And that percentage doesn’t include all the children and adolescents who are classified as overweight. Within America, West Virginia has the 3rd highest rate of adult obesity, with 32.4% of West Virginia adults obese, or a BMI of 30+. Childhood obesity prevention is key in reducing the percent of obese adults in West Virginia as well because studies have shown that obese children have a 70-80% probability of being obese as adults. So the excuse “oh, he/she will grow into the weight!” most likely won’t hold true for the 7% of West Virginian kindergarteners who are morbidly obese (above the 99th percentile on CDC growth charts)…unless something is done, that is!
Camp NEW You is a program designed to combat the childhood obesity epidemic in West Virginia. The camp’s website states:
“Camp NEW You is an innovative program designed to help youth and their parents identify and practice lifestyle changes that will assist in reducing unhealthy body weight through increased physical activity and good nutrition. The program focuses on goal setting and decision-making, and emphasizes the importance of family participation in helping to create home environments that provide regular opportunities for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and healthy eating. The signature features of the program include the following: (a) interdisciplinary advisory board; (b) qualified camp staff; (c) access to state-of-the-art facilities; (d) focus on behavior change through enhanced self-efficacy, behavioral skills, behavioral capability, and social networking; (e) unique summer residency program with a variety of educational sessions for children and parents, developmentally appropriate activities, group counseling, and enrichment activities; and (f) structured 12-month follow-up intervention designed to provide continued support for families as the targeted behavior change becomes habitual (periodic weekend retreats, regular telephone coaching, individualized physical activity program design, personal accountability mechanisms).”
There are two camps in West Virginia- one held at WVU in Morgantown, WV on the north end of the state, and the other at Marshall University in Huntington, WV (southwest side of the state). In order to qualify for the Camp New You program, kids must meet the following criteria:
- 11-14 years old by the start of the program (in July)
- BMI above the 85th percentile (classified as overweight)
- Referal form completed and submitted by a physician
- Application contract completed and submitted by parent or legal guardian and child
- 1 parent participant (at all required sessions)
- Committed to attend all camp sessions (July through June of following year)
Each day, camp participants can enjoy meals with fellow campers and staff, engage in daily individual and group exercise, learn about nutrition, home environment, goal-setting, and positive lifestyle habits. A sample schedule is shown below:
The 2-week camp costs $2750 per camper if paid out of pocket, but many health insurances cover the cost of the program, minus a $100 deductible. If parents and children are serious about improving their health and learning new healthy habits that will help them decrease their risk of obesity and obesity-related diseases (heart disease, diabetes) then Camp New You sounds like a great fit. Experts in the field of nutrition, exercise science, behavioral health, and other health professionals are involved in Camp New You. Children are able to get medical assessments and screenings (blood pressure, fasting lipid profile, insulin, glucose, BMI) and a lifestyle coach who can be reached weekly throughout the year-long follow-up portion of the program. Click below to see pictures & video from Camp New You.