America's ballooning weight, particularly among kids, has doctors concerned, but one weight loss method is proving successful.
Instead of singling-out one family member, this plan gets the whole family on board.
America's school children are heavier than ever. Over 9 million kids between the ages of 6 and 19 are obese, which is 16 percent, a number that has tripled since 1980.
Obesity is usually caused by eating too many calories and too little exercise. So the solution is to eat healthy and exercise more.
A Family Affair
But it is difficult for one family member to do it alone, especially a child. So to increase the chances of success, make weight loss a family affair.
Kristin Robinson and her son Collin attended a two-week family weight loss camp this summer, a cut above the old-fashioned fat camps for kids. At the camp families learned the basics of weight loss like starting small and setting realistic goals.
"There is transformation for some and dramatically increased awareness for others," said Susan Borgman Clinical Director of Wellspring Academy.
The mother and son team lost more than 32 pounds at camp and lost much more when they got home.
Collin opened up about what his mother's obesity meant to him.
"That was really hard for me because I didn't want her to be like that even more than I didn't want me to be like that," he said. "I was worried that she wasn't gonna, like, make it."
Putting it Into Practice
The mother and son team put into practice what they learned at camp, stocking the kitchen with fruits, vegetables and whole grains and getting rid of unhealthy foods like sugary drinks and junk food.
"Everything in this bag's got to go," Kristin said. "I mean, they're potatoes, fried potatoes, 10 grams of fat for 11, no veggies."
They reduced the number of fast food and restaurant meals, and began eating in with smaller portions, together at a table with the TV off.
They also kept track of what they ate and focused on healthy lifestyles, not appearance or the number on a scale.
Remember that weight loss is not a race. It takes time and dedication to change lifestyles, but it is well worth the wait.
*Originally published September 16, 2009