(photo credit: )
Overweight and obese youngsters can more easily lose kilos when they are having
a good time, learning a new lifestyle and sharing their experience with others.
The Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, at Sheba Medical Center in Tel
Hashomer claims that its summer camp for overweight children – now in its 10th
year and reportedly the only one of its kind in Israel – has had great success
in getting them to lose weight and keep it off. The camp is lead by Dr. Orit
Pinhas-Hamiel, head of the hospital’s pediatric endocrinology clinic; Dr. Gal
Dubnov-Raz from the exercise, nutrition and lifestyle clinic; and a large team
of physical education instructors, dietitians and drama therapists. The camp
runs from July 13 to July 30 at a Wizo dormitory facility in Petah Tikva, and
the target ages are six to 17, separated in groups.
The most important
difference from most other summer camps is that the children remain overnight –
protected from the effects of summer, which can promote overweight. A
no-sleep-over option is also available.
As most obese adults were
overweight as children, dealing with the problem at a young age can save
While their normal-weight friends are having fun at the beach and
pool, the overweight feel left out. Boredom at home just triggers more
The camp participants are certainly not starved; rather they are
taught what healthful food to eat and how to overcome the urge for junk food.
Sports, martial arts, dancing, drama-therapy and sessions on nutrition are
provided, along with support groups for parents and children after the camp is
over. A constant message is how to improve one’s body image and self confidence,
alongside healthy lifestyle habits.
The Safra research team examined the
long-term effects of last year’s camp and found that the average participant
lost 3.5 kilos during their stay. Six months later, half were still losing
weight, and 62 percent had a lower body mass index than before the camp. Their
blood pressure also improved.
More information can be obtained at
http://yeladim.sheba.co.il/news/161.htm or by e-mail to Yael at
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