Kids Gain More Weight During The Summer Than School Year

Armen Hareyan's picture

Children gain more weight during the summer months than during the school year, a surprise to many parents, but summer camps designed for weight loss help kids and parents make healthier decisions.

As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, many parents struggle desperately to find help. Countless families are wrapping up summer vacations and preparing for back to school shopping and waistlines are bulging. Surprisingly, studies indicate that children gain more weight during the summer months than during the school year1.

“Most people believe that children will lose weight during the summertime because of additional exercise and time spent outdoors,” said Dr. Daniel Kirschenbaum, vice president of Clinical Services at Wellspring and professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Medical School. ”However, recent research indicates teens expend less energy during unstructured time like summertime than they do during school days2. Less activity combined with freer access to high fat foods can lead to substantial weight gain.”

Weight loss can be a difficult subject for parents to discuss with children. Many parents do not fully acknowledge that their child may be overweight. Many weight loss experts attribute the lack of exercise and rising rates of obesity to more time spent on the Internet, playing video games and watching TV.

“Parents can play key roles in mitigating this potential obesogenic summertime situation,” said Dr. Kirschenbaum. “For example, they can limit the type of foods available in the house and make more meals at home. Parents can also model activity whenever possible including simple steps such as parking farther away, taking stairs not escalators, or going on active vacations.”

In other words, parents can decrease weight gain of their vulnerable teens if they make summertime more similar to the school year in structure and function. They can also add structure to their children’s summers by having their child get a summer job or by enrolling the child in specialty programs that have proven track records of success.


Programs are available around the world to educate families about obesity and weight loss. Wellspring programs for weight loss demonstrate among the best outcomes ever reported for weight loss among children and adolescents. Wellspring offers summer camps for kids and parents, as well as other programs, designed to teach key skills required for successful weight loss and long-term weight control.

About Wellspring Weight Loss Programs

Wellspring Academies, Wellspring Camps and Wellspring Community Programs are recognized as the leading weight loss treatment programs for overweight children, teens and young adults. Founded in 2004 as Healthy Living Academies, the organization is now recognized under one name, Wellspring.

Wellspring offers programs for youth and adults, including year-round boarding schools, summer camps, after-school programs and retreats. Wellspring Academies, boarding schools include Wellspring Academy of California and Wellspring Academy of the Carolinas; Wellspring Camps in New York, North Carolina, California, Texas, Wisconsin, Hawaii, United Kingdom and Australia, along with Wellspring Family Camp at Pinehurst Resort; Wellspring Community Programs, after-school programs for weight loss and behavioral change; and Wellspring Retreats for adults.

The Sierras Weight-Loss Solution for Teens and Kids (Avery, 2007) was written by the founders and program leaders of Wellspring. The book offers parents a 12-week proven program based on the school's curriculum focusing on healthy eating and making exercise a priority.

To learn more about Wellspring weight loss programs, visit or call 866-364-0808. Wellspring is a division of CRC Health.

1 American Journal of Public Health. April 2007.

2 Hohepa et al. “Pedometer determined physical activity levels of adolescents.” Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2008; 5, Supplement 1: S140-S152.


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