To’ren Healthcare Consultancy’s (THC) second Summer Weight Loss Camp was a success for the participants, their parents and the administrators. The camp, which targeted children and teenagers from ages six to 18, ran from July 8 to August 16 at St Anthony’s College, Westmoorings.
THC CEO and principal consultant Leah Lewis said: “Last year, we realised that one of the main influential factors in the success of the campers was their parents. We discovered that many parents were not providing the necessary at-home support to facilitate improved health and lifestyle change that their children needed. Campers complained of not having healthy meal choices at home, being tempted with their favourite unhealthy meals, being allowed many long hours of screen time without physical activity, being fed ‘whatever was cooked’, and more.”
“However, there were some parents who truly wanted to learn more and help not only their children to lose excess weight, but their families to live healthier lifestyles. This year, we provided the parents with supportive educational sessions. These took the form of two nutrition counselling sessions and one session addressing mental attitudes toward behaviour change.”
He continued, “In terms of results, 85 per cent of the campers were successful in achieving measurable weight loss, and 70 per cent of them were successful in reducing their waistline circumference, which is a measure of abdominal fat. Our main challenge this year was successfully securing sufficient sponsorship for the programme’s execution.”
The children who participated were excited about the programme and the various activities they got to participate in. Angel Lopez, who was in the programme for the second time, said: “The people are very kind and generous. I will keep up with what they taught me when I go back to school. This year, I actually lost 16 pounds since I’ve been here. I would recommend that others come here because the atmosphere is very positive, and they always push you to do better and always strive for what you want, and on Wednesdays we always have motivational talks that are very inspiring as well.”
Omari Gordon said his experience with the camp was enjoyable. “There were lots of activities for us to do, and the people who spoke to us were interesting. I’d like to do it again, and other people should do it because it’s a good and fun way to meet other people and lose weight at the same time and you’re learning stuff about healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle.”
Michael Austin said his favourite activity was the bootcamp, and his least favourite was the dancing. “People should come because they really need to get fit, some people are obese and all that. I don’t think there’s anything I didn’t like.”
Ronni Sampson said she came back to the camp because she regained some of the weight she lost last year.
She said: “I will admit I did stray because I did eat a lot of salty foods and sweet foods when I knew I wasn’t supposed to be doing it but I did it anyway.
“I wasn’t confident in my body image so I came back to see if I could get back on the right path, and I lost ten pounds this time. My mother came and did the exercises with me, and sometimes she put in more effort than me. When I leave, I’m going to try my best not to stray.
“I think people should come to the camp because it’s a really fun experience, you have physical activities and classes like nutrition and self-esteem coaching and health education. We learned SMART goals, and you have a vision in your head that this is what I’m going to do in my future, because I cannot work so hard to lose all this weight just to go in two, three weeks, and regain it. That’s not what I want for my body.”
Health screening to assess health status was conducted on the first and final days of camp by Drs Stefan Ironside and Nisha Maharaj. Blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, waist circumference and BMI were measured, and medical advice given to parents on the recommended way forward.
Physical activities included aqua-aerobics, fitness games, dance, bootcamp and kickboxing. Educational classes included health, nutrition and self-esteem coaching. The motivational speakers were Hema Ramkissoon, Nicole Dyer-Griffith, kickboxing instructor Mudassar Karamath, bootcamp instructor Micaiah Wilson, James Harper of Inspiro Wellness Consultancy Ltd, and camp supervisor Aidan Rajumar.
Lewis said the Summer Weight Loss Camp provides an opportunity for young people to transform mentally, physically and spiritually. “We may tend to overlook it, but poor nutrition and low levels of physical activity are shortening the potential life-spans of our young people through the rampant development of chronic non-communicable diseases.
“Many children in this country are developing Type II Diabetes and many, even infants, are walking around with high blood pressure. I have seen this for myself through the programme. I find it an honour to provide this service to children and their parents, and I hope to continue to do so with the help of others who also believe in this cause.”