Nutrition in the News: Drink to be thin and Obese boarding school

There have been endless studies that have mentioned the negative side effects of alcohol to your health and only a few that actually address its benefits. I’m not saying that you should drink 5 vodka tonics or a bottle of wine a day, however, I am saying that light to moderate drinking actually has health benefits and is not as detrimental as we once thought.

A study published in Time which was done by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women who drank moderately over the span of 13 years were 30% less likely to be overweight and 70% less likely to be obese! The study found there to be a few explanations to why this could be. They found that women who drink more tend to eat less to combat it, either by a conscious effort or sub consciously.

 I find this to be not only interesting but true! Whenever I drink, with a meal or at night, I tend to get fuller faster because of the calories in the drink. Also, many drinks, such as blended margaritas and bloody mary’s are much heavier, therefore fill you up quicker than just a standard drink. Also, they also found that women metabolize alcohol quicker, leaving fewer calories to be absorbed into the body.  Although this is interesting and certainly helps me remove the guilt I sometimes carry after a few drinks on Friday night, it is still important to remember the key part of the article: moderation and responsibility.

If you drink moderately and still consume a healthy amount of calories from the right foods, you will see a higher percentage of weight loss. However, act responsibly and know your limits. Also, never replace a meal with alcohol, as that can have a detrimental affect on your health and your metabolism. For the full article, visit http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1970612,00.html.

With the percentage of children who are obese increasing each year, it’s no surprise that many health administrators and terrified parents are desperate to find a solution, even if it involves sending these kids thousands of miles away from home for treatment.

An article featured in Time investigated a new version of the standard “fat camp” called WellSpring Academy, which is a boarding school for obese  teens. It is a place that houses 8th-12th graders, all in differing stages of weight loss. They must stay for at least 4 months and stay in dormitories, much like a standard boarding school. The school also has standard academic classes, like mathematics, english and science on top of the strict excercise and nutritional classes.

The rate of success is high, the students lost up to 25% of their weight while at the academy and continue to lose up to 70% more within a year of leaving.  The kids weight loss, nutrition and fitness therapists also remain in constant contact with the kids for 6 months after they leave to help give them motivation and advice in adapting back to their normal lives.

To many desperate teens struggling to lose weight and find normalcy and to their parents, who are scared for their kids health see this place as a dream come true, a place exactly what they need. However, once they realize the academy is not covered by any insurance, some of their dreams are shattered, as the tuition is fairly steep, over $6000 per month. Some children just can not afford it and others are using their college savings in hope this will finally help them change. 

Although there are aspects about this camp I definitely think need some changing, I think the overall concept is really incredible and has a higher success rate than most summer camps for obese children. I think the fact that they receive one on one therapy and that the relationship with their therapist continues well after they leave really increases the success rate, as these kids don’t feel blind sided by the real world and still have someone from the camp fully supporting them. I also really like that this doesn’t take kids out of school.

By implementing real academic classes, as well as focusing on weight loss, these kids are able to continue to have a relatively normal life and don’t have to re-take classes or grades due to the absence. However, I think the tuition is definitely steep and I think many of the children from high risk demographics [urban, inner city, come from families of low socioeconomic status] are being discluded just on the fact that they can’t afford it. I think that until coverage can be extended through most health insurance companies, there should be a governmental funding program, like student loans, or scholarships that children can quality for that will allow them to attend the school even if their parents can not make the tuition payments. I don’t think any child who is suffering from high risk obesity should be discluded because they can’t afford it. These are the kids that need the most help.

Although I applaud Ryan Craig [the owner] for implementing a fat-free diet, I definitely have trouble believing that to be attainable for teens to adhere to. I think there should be more variety added to the menu, including items with healthy fat content, so the teens can realistically adhere to the plan for more than just a year. To read the entire article, visit http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1966466-1,00.html.

 And look out for MASSIVE updates from the end of February and my trip to Vegas! I will be catching up this whole week!

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~ by therealnutritionist on March 9, 2010.

One Response to “Nutrition in the News: Drink to be thin and Obese boarding school”

  1. […] see the full article head over to The Realistic Nutritionist’s site. Spread the […]

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