It seems that not only is there an increased health risk associated with obesity, but there is also an increased revenue stream. From dieting books, DVDs and CDs, there is also pills, programs and food supplements. But now the focus in on ‘fat camps’ to reduce the bulge in children.
Last year the documentary series, Teen Fit Camp, aired in Australia on Channel Ten and followed six overweight Aussie teenagers to a fitness camp in the US. Initially the documentary was titled Teen Fat Camp but the marketing team made the change to the more sensitive Teen Fit Camp. Ratings were poor and it quickly plummeted from prime-time TV to a Sunday afternoon slot.
Although the show was attempting to promote weight loss and raise awareness about obesity in children, it was slammed for exploitation.
Recently UK based online magazine, Sp!ked, published an article on the increasing number of ‘fat camps’ opening in Britain. The article titled, The state-sanctioned bullying of fat kids, suggested that the government was lending a hand in isolating overweight children and helping make them feel ashamed.
“This week, officialdom’s war against fat children was stepped up a mark. The government revealed that, starting in the next school term, parents will be sent ‘fat reports’ on their children.”
The authors, Patrick Basham and John Luik, cannot understand why the British government is promoting fat camps when they are hardly succeeding in their parent country, America.
“Why is business so bad in America, the world leader in fat children and obsessive parenting? Because the dirty little secret of fat camps is that they do not work.”
Despite this fact, the first fat camp for overweight children under five – Too Fat to Toddle, was opened in Britain last year.
Although there are no ‘fat camp’ listings in the Yellow Pages yet, it’s only a matter of time before we see them dipping into Australian pockets. Ryan Craig, the president of the Wellspring Camp the Teen Fit Camp kids were sent to, told The Sydney Morning Herald that he hopes the show will “raise enough awareness about his camps that it can extend to Australia” as it did in Britain.