Fat camp plan revealed by Uni

AS concerns about childhood obesity grab more headlines every day, Essex University has put forward one solution – its very own “fat camp”.Overweight youngsters who live in the Colchester area are to be invited to attend a week's worth of sessions where they can learn about healthy eating and take part in activities such as volleyball and rock climbing.

By Roddy Ashworth

AS concerns about childhood obesity grab more headlines every day, Essex University has put forward one solution - its very own “fat camp”.

Overweight youngsters who live in the Colchester area are to be invited to attend a week's worth of sessions where they can learn about healthy eating and take part in activities such as volleyball and rock climbing.

The initiative follows TV shows such as InchLoss Island, Celebrity Fit Club and Fat Friends - the latter a comedy drama in which characters meet at a slimming meeting.


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The non-residential camp - open to children aged between 11 and 14 and tactfully branded a “fit” camp - is to be run by its Centre for Sports and Exercise Science, and the plan is to pilot it in July.

If successful, it is hoped the scheme could be expanded next year to include children from a wider age range and a larger catchment area.

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Yesterday Tom Cudmore, one of those spearheading the idea at the Wivenhoe Park Campus, said: “The rising level of obesity in the UK is startling and will have a huge impact on the country, especially in terms of the long term cost to the NHS.

“To tackle this effectively we need to be encouraging children from an early age to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, not just through sport but also through everyday activities like walking to school or taking the dog out.”

He added: “The emphasis is not on losing weight, it is about encouraging youngsters who, for whatever reason, are not motivated to eat healthily and exercise in their normal environment.

“Physical education lessons in schools can be intimidating for children who are overweight which only compounds the problem.

“By bringing them into an environment where they are not unusual we anticipate they will be more willing to try new forms of exercise.”

The issue of obesity has become a major health concern in the UK, with scientists warning earlier this week that being overweight could overtake smoking as the most common cause of preventable cancer within 10 years.

On Monday, the BBC announced its children's TV characters would no longer be licensed for use in promoting food products containing the kind of high salt and sugar levels associated with the condition.

And last month fast-food giant McDonalds axed its “supersize” range while introducing a number of healthier options on its menus.

n Any parents or healthcare professionals interested in finding out more about the camp should contact Tom Cudmore at the Human Performance Unit on 01206 873254.

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