Town Pitches In to Send 11 Obese Teens to Weight-Loss Camp & the Results Are Amazing

Inspiring 8

overweight teens

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:

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Would you send your obese kid away to help them lose weight?


body image, school, health, inspiring teens

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Pinkmani Pinkmani

Oh, I wish I had this. This is such a wonderful idea! The kids had each other to lose weight, and they are able to change their lives. Good for them!!!

nonmember avatar Mel

I live in Independence MO and my children go to Independence public schools. I am so proud that my children go to these schools. They have made an effort to make healthier lunches and snack for the kids in all grades. They have programs every year but so far this is the best one

nonmember avatar Anna

Great story! One thing that was a little discouraging was to see all of these kids' parents in the interviews: they were all overweight. Hopefully their parents won't be hindrances to their weight loss journeys.

tuffy... tuffymama

I don't feel very confident that it will stick. It's why my ODS's ped was upfront about not being pro-fat camp for kids. My son was painfully thin, but a lot of the ped's patients were patients because they were fat and he could get the weight off of them. Just as therapy for kids involves the whole family, so does a lifestyle change to get the child to maintain a healthy weight. Those parents didn't go to fat camp, and they may have no effing clue that McDonald's, soda, and Hamburger Helper make you fat.

efilitha efilitha

I would. Really I would. Won't let my kids obese and live with diseases.

kisse... kisses5050

 Wow anyone else concerned that these kids live in a town that has a school that allows such pervasive bullying and humiliation that they send their kids off concentration camp style?ROund up all the fat ones? I find this disturbing.

whate... whatever82

I'm worried about the children's ability to keep their healthy habits when their parents are probably the ones who set the bad food/exercise/healthy living examples in the first place.  If the child is the only one trying to eat healthy and exercise in a family full of people who aren't, I'm seeing failure in the future.  I hope their families dedicate themselves to their children's new healthy habits!  

WadeM... WadeMom313

kisses5050, you have it VERY wrong.  ISD has a zero tolerance policy on bullying, and has programs every year to curb bullying.  But, there are over 10,000 students in our district.  Even with a zero tolerance policy, it's going to happen.  The kids who bully are punished and it is not "allowed" to happen by any means.  And they didn't "round up the fat ones", they had requests from parents for help on educating kids and helping them to lose the weight and they responded in an amazing way.  They have implemented many programs right here to help the other students that are overweight but didn't go to the camp.  They have also implemented a fundraising program so that the schools are not allowed to sell unhealthy food.  No cookie dough or other fundraisers that promote unhealthy eating.  They are taking steps in the right direction and making leaps and bounds to change our community and make it better.  Way to go to you though for taking something awesome and trying to spin it to sound bad.  ISD is an amazing school district, one of the top in the state and even the country and I, for one, am EXTREMELY proud to be a part of this district. 

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