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The most disturbing part of the obesity epidemic in this country? How many children fall into that category. It's our national shame. So I was both inspired and excited to hear about the 11 overweight Missouri kids who lost 756 pounds after their town sent them to a weight loss program.
These teens had long been criticized and taunted by their peers for their weight, often driven to tears. It was especially heartbreaking to hear that some parents didn't know how much anguish their children were experiencing. "I was 275 and I wouldn't want to look in the mirror," tenth grader Chelsea Neely tearfully told Today. "I hid it from my mom because I wanted her to be happy and I wanted to be happy but it was hard to make friends."
Eleventh grader Jason Alexander was 330 pounds at his heaviest. "If you are big, you usually get teased," he shared with Today. "'Oh you are a fatty.' It really brings you down." However, these 11 overweight kids would soon be lifted up by the generosity of the town. The Independence, Missouri, school district sent them to Mindstream Academy, a weight loss boarding school in South Carolina. The school district and parents saw the importance of helping kids now in order to improve their lives later. During their three-month stay, their curriculum included classes on healthy eating and they met with a counselor. When they returned to Missouri in December, they were different people both physically and emotionally. Their parents were shocked and amazed.
It seems extreme to send your kid away for this, but I would do it in a heartbeat. As parents, we invest in our kids' future in so many ways. We get them the best technology, we send them to the best colleges. Well, given the obesity epidemic, weight issues need to be at the top of the list too. So many of us are incapable of really helping a dangerously obese child the way they need to be helped. We parents are sometimes too overwhelmed with our other kids, work, and household responsibilities to properly focus on it. It's sad but true. It's amazing this town made this financial sacrifice for these children. They lost weight, gained confidence, and have a better chance at a healthy future.
See more of their inspiring story here:
Would you send your obese kid away to help them lose weight?