First `fat camp' in Britain opens

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The Independent Online
TWENTY-FIVE overweight children arrived at Britain's first "fat camp" yesterday for a regime of exercise and healthy eating formulated to help them to slim. Among the arrivals was a 12-year-old boy who weighs 20 stone.

The six-week residential course at Leeds Metropolitan University - based on similar camps in the United States - will comprise aerobics, swimming sessions and classes in cookery and nutrition. Chocolate is banned and all the food on the menu will be made from low-fat ingredients.

The Carnegie International Weight Loss Camp is being run by Paul Gately, a lecturer in exercise, physiology and health who has written a PhD thesis based on his findings at US camps. He said: "It's a holiday camp for kids with a by-product that they change their lifestyles and body shape. They might not lose any weight but they will have gained muscle and lost fat."

The children, aged between 11 and 17, have all been recommended for the course by their GPs. The six-week course costs pounds 2,000, and about 40 youngsters are due to take part, with three receiving some state funding.

Nine per cent of girls and 13 per cent of boys in the UK are now classed as overweight.

Tina Hardwick, a 17-year-old who weighs 13st 7lb, said: "I'm here because I like eating chocolate too much."