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Weight-Loss Camp Linked to Blood Pressure, BMI Benefit

Campers showed more BMI, BP reduction from eight-week than four-week session

THURSDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- A residential weight-loss camp for preteens and teens is associated with lower blood pressure as well as weight reduction, according to research published online March 1 in Pediatrics.

Jean Huelsing, R.N., of the Living Well Foundation in Imperial, Mo., and colleagues analyzed data from 76 children and adolescents, aged 9 to 18 years, who were overweight (6 percent) or obese (92 percent). The camp emphasized physical activity, education, and 1,500-calorie daily menus. Sixty-two subjects attended the camp for four weeks, and the rest attended for eight weeks.

The researchers found that campers had significant decreases in systolic blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), BMI z-score, body weight, and one-mile run times. Participants in the eight-week session had greater reductions in blood pressure, BMI, BMI z-score, and body weight. Boys had greater reductions in body weight and BMI measurements.

"We have demonstrated that participation in a four- or eight-week residential weight-loss camp reduces weight and BMI and is associated with lower blood pressure and improved fitness," the authors conclude. "Although we did not collect information on parental income in our study, it is likely that the cost of these camps remains prohibitive for many families. Future efforts to make such camps more affordable through other funding mechanisms will allow a greater diversity of individuals to take advantage of their success."

Several co-authors reported financial relationships with the camp or a related non-profit foundation.

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