Looking for a weight loss camp for your overweight child or overweight teen? This should give you a great start. Here are the six largest weight-loss camps in the U.S. They all have low camper-to-staff ratios (3:1), a low-fat or reduced calorie diet, nutritional and culinary education, and a wide variety of physical activities to choose from. Three of the camps offer cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is proven to increase rates of longterm weight-loss success. Click here for more about what to look for in a weight-loss camp and how to make the most of your child’s time there.
1. Camp Pocono Trails
700 campers per summer, ages 7-21; ACA accredited. Nestled on 350 acres in the Pocono mountains of PA, Camp Pocono Trails is the single largest weight loss camp in the country. Located on an exclusive private lakefront, the camp boasts two outdoor heated swimming pools, completely separate facilities for boys and girls, and a multitude of outdoor and indoor facilities including a 7000-square-foot indoor gymnasium. A healthy food program combined with nutrition classes,cooking classes, self esteem programs, and behavior modification gets campers into great physical and mental shape all while having a great time at a traditional summer camp. Follow-up includes comprehensive menus and recipes along with online consultations with a registered dietician. Minimum stay two weeks ($3,650).
2. Wellspring Camps
5 different locations; ages 5-26; over 750-1,000 campers per summer. NY location has a girls-only camp (only NY and CA locations are ACA accredited). Wellspring takes a “scientifically based” behavioral approach to weight loss with 1 individual and 2 group cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions per week. Claims that “70% of campers maintain or continue to lose weight at home.” Interactive continuing care program with smart device integration and frequent communication with trained year-round staff. Best parent support with 2-day workshop, published guidebook. Minimum stay 3 weeks, full-priced tuition from $6,000 -7,750 depending on location. Up to an additional $1,500-$2,000 may be reimbursed by some health insurance policies. Wellspring will work with families to find out if their insurance will cover significant portions of tuition based on their scientific treatment model.
3. Camp Shane
5 locations; ages 7-19; also have diet/fitness “resorts” for young women 18-25 and for adults; 550 campers per summer. A co-ed family-run camp with claim to fame of being the oldest weight loss camp (the original Catskills, NY location began 44 years ago). Known for a relaxed, fun atmosphere. Menu includes healthy versions of kidfriendly foods like pizza, burgers, nuggets. Some CBT offered; “At Home” booklet and newsletter for families. Minimum stay 2 or 3 weeks depending on location; 2-week rates start at $2,475; financial assistance available. Mixed reviews from campers – kids seem to either love it or hate it.
4. Camp Pennbrook
Pennington, NJ; girls only ages 8-21; 150 campers per summer. Family-owned camp promotes a sense of “sisterhood” and takes advantage of its proximity to NYC with at least one trip to see a Broadway show. Boasts mature staff, many of whom are in nutritional/educational fields, and top-notch facilities. Parent’s Visiting Day teaches families how to prepare for their daughter’s successful return home. Follow-up program includes monthly calls and off-season events in NY, PA, and FL. ACA accredited. Minimum stay 15 days, $2,275.
5. Camp Jumpstart
Southern Missouri; ages 9-17; 80 campers per summer. Prides itself on being a “healthy lifestyle camp” blending “camping, fitness, nutrition, health education and leadership training together for positive youth development.” CBT group sessions and workbook provided. Post-camp self-monitoring on interactive “Jump Zone” website. ACA-accredited. Minimum stay is 4 weeks for $4,295. Scholarships available.
6. Camp Vanguard
Haines City, FL (30 mins from Orlando), 150 campers ages 7-21. The only ACA-accredited weight loss camp in the south features a completely private, air-conditioned lakefront campus, swimming pool, paintball course, and computer lab. Campers are kept very busy with structured activities including sports, aquatics, and cultural programs. Nutrition classes, cooking classes and behavior modification. Follow-up care includes menus and recipes and access to an online nutritionist throughout the year. Minimum stay 2 weeks, $3,750.
One Canadian weight-loss camp to consider:
Active Challenge, Ontario, girl-only outdoor adventure camp for ages 12-18 encourages healthy habits, weight loss, and toning/fitness. Minimum session 4 weeks, $3,955.
NEW: AFFORDABLE ALTERNATIVE TO SUMMER CAMP!
Sleep-away camp not right for your daughter (or your family budget)? Consider these affordable, at-home alternatives from fitsmi!
fitsmi’s “Yeah You Can” Group Coaching for Teen Girls, an online group coaching program featuring weekly live videochats with a registered dietitian, daily tracking on fitsmi’s mobile Change Machine, interactive e-sessions at your own pace, week-by-week fitsmi Planbook, exercise calendar, menus, and more! Help her get in shape this summer and all year round. Sign up for a FREE 30-day trial!
fitsmi Group Coaching for Parents, a 7-week online program featuring weekly live videochats with a registered dietitian, customized family menu plans, and private group discussions with other parents. Learn and laugh with other parents and get 24/7 access to expert advice! All from the privacy of your own home. Sign up today!