New Studies Reveal Weight Loss Academies for Kids are Achieving Unprecedented Results in Fighting Childhood Obesity

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Aspen Education Group’s overweight students and campers lose weight -- and keep it off -- even after returning home.

These results are unprecedented in the history of weight loss research

Some students lost almost half their body weight during a six-month stint at Aspen Education Group’s Healthy Living Academies’ weight loss programs. But could they keep it off after leaving the structured and rigorously health-focused academies? According to results of follow-up studies with students who completed the Healthy Living Academies weight loss programs in 2005, the answer is a resounding “yes!”

The studies followed the weight loss results of students attending the Academy of the Sierras weight loss boarding school and Wellspring Camps. The first class of students who attended Academy of the Sierras in Reedley, CA for at least six months lost an average of 81 lbs. during the program, and had successfully maintained their entire weight loss at the 10-month follow-up interval. In a separate study, 212 campers who attended Wellspring Camps for at least four weeks not only maintained their average weight loss of 21 lbs. for six to nine months after returning home from camp, but had lost an additional five lbs. at the six- to nine-month follow-up interval.

“These results are unprecedented in the history of weight loss research,” says Dr. Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, a professor at Northwestern University Medical School and Clinical Director of Healthy Living Academies programs. “The scientific community has never seen weight loss programs consistently produce such rapid and sizeable weight losses that were so well tolerated and maintained over time. The 80-pound average weight loss at the Academy of the Sierras is unparalleled, with the possible exception of far more risky bariatric surgeries.”

Dr. Kirschenbaum added that these results were consistent with 2004 findings from Wellspring Camps. “In 2004, we studied 79 campers who lost an average of 17 lbs. and found that six to nine months later, they had lost an additional 7.4 lbs.”

The results at Academy of the Sierras (AOS) can be attributed to a strong program based in the science of weight loss and cognitive-behavioral therapy, according to AOS Executive Director Phil Obbard. “Students who remain for an extended period of time in a structured, healthy environment that supports good nutrition and daily activity routinely show dramatic improvements in self-esteem, mood and outlook. The fact that students maintained weight losses is a testament to their growth and overall emotional well-being.”

“These weight loss results demonstrate that there is hope for many of today’s overweight and obese children,” said Elliot Sainer, CEO of Aspen Education Group. “With nearly one-third of American children overweight or obese, parents must give their kids the opportunity to learn new skills and behaviors that will lead to long and healthy lives.”

Unlike existing “diet camps,” Healthy Living Academies’ programs were designed by leading researchers using current scientific understanding of the most effective approaches to safe weight loss and permanent behavioral and lifestyle changes. Academy of the Sierras and Wellspring Camps provide behavioral training, such as self- monitoring and goal-setting, for successful long-term weight control, and employ master’s- and doctoral-level therapists to provide cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps campers stay committed to permanent lifestyle change. They also focus on family involvement and have a unique Internet-based “after-care” program.

Healthy Living Academies operates residential schools and summer programs addressing America’s crisis of pediatric and adolescent obesity. Healthy Living Academies programs include Academy of the Sierras in California, a new campus opening in North Carolina in 2006, Wellspring New York, Wellspring Adventure Camp, Wellspring Adventure Camp California, Wellspring Family Camp, and Wellspring United Kingdom. To learn more about Academy of the Sierras, Wellspring Camps or Healthy Living Academies, visit http://www.healthylivingacademies.com or call 866-364-0808.

Healthy Living Academies is a division of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. With over 30 programs in 12 states and the United Kingdom, Aspen provides to students and families a comprehensive range of therapeutic interventions, including boarding schools, residential treatment and wilderness therapy. For more information, visit http://www.aspeneducation.com or call 888-972-7736.

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