Long-term impact of a weight management summer camp on obese children

Alicia Elena Farhat, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: interventions that focus on improving eating habits, increasing physical activity, and reducing sedentary behaviors on weight status and body mass index percentile and z-scores in youths have not been well documented. This study aimed to determine the short and long term effects of a 2-week residential weight management summer camp program for youths on weight, BMI, BMI percentile, and BMI z-score. Methods: A sample of 73 obese multiethnic 10-14 years old youths (11.9 ± 1.4) attended a weight management camp called Kamp K'aana for two weeks and completed a 12-month follow-up on height and weight. As part of Kamp K'aana, participants received a series of nutrition, physical activity and behavioral lessons and were on an 1800 kcal per day meal plan. Anthropometric measurements of height and weight were taken to calculate participants' BMI percentiles and z-scores. Paired t-tests, chi square test and ANCOVA, adjusting for age, gender, and ethnicity were used to assess changes in body weight, BMI, BMI percentiles and BMI z-scores pre to two-weeks post-camp and 12 months post-camp. Results: Significant reductions in body weight of 3.6 ± 1.4 (P = 0.0000), BMI of 1.4 ± 0.54 (P = 0.0000), BMI percentile of 0.45 ± 0.06 (P = 0.0000), and BMI z-score of 0.1 ± 0.06 (P = 0.0000) were observed at the end of the camp. Significant reductions in BMI z-scores (P < 0.001) and BMI percentile (P < 0.001) were observed at the 12-month reunion when compared to pre- and two-weeks post camp data. There was a significant increase in weight and BMI (P = 0.0000) at the 12-month reunion when compared to pre and post camp measurements. Conclusion: Kamp K'aana has consistently shown short-term reductions in weight, BMI, BMI percentile, and BMI z-score. Results from analysis of long-term data suggest that this intervention had beneficial effects on body composition in an ethnically diverse population of obese children. Further research which includes a control group, larger sample size, and cost-analysis should be conducted.

Subject Area

Health education

Recommended Citation

Farhat, Alicia Elena, "Long-term impact of a weight management summer camp on obese children" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1541673.