Thirteen Missouri Students Return from Weight Loss School Lighter, Healthier

756 Pounds Lost Among 13 Students

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Independence (Mo.) School District sent 13 children between the ages of 11 and 17 to a special camp in South Carolina for weight loss. After a single semester out of state, the children lost a combined weight of 756 pounds. The parents haven't seen their kids since August, save for one family. The children disembarked from plane to throngs of family, digital cameras and local news media.

Why did the kids go all the way to South Carolina?

The 13 children are part of a health program implemented by the school district, according to the Associated Press . As much as 36 percent of the district's students were overweight in 2011. Data was posted to a protected website able to be monitored by parents. The kids who went to South Carolina received grant money to attend.

What happened while the children were away from home?

The kids all learned how to live healthier lifestyles. Additionally, weight loss programs and exercise were done regularly at MindStream Academy in Bluffton, S.C. The Associated Press reports the boarding school specializes in weight loss. The kids learned skills such as healthy cooking, grocery shopping techniques, gardening skills and exercise regimens.

How did the district get funding for such a project?

One semester of tuition at MindStream is $28,500, according to the Kansas City Star. Students live on campus for the duration of their time at the boarding school. A combination of the Independence School District, donors and the children's families paid for half of the tuition. The other half came from the school district's foundation.

How much weight did individual students lose during the four months?

KSHB reveals the success stories of the students. Jason Alexander, a junior in high school, lost the most weight with 98 pounds. His weight starting going on after his father's death more than six years ago. Cameron Larkin came home 68 pounds lighter. His mother noticed his new confidence. Eighth grader Emily Beers lost 62 pounds and junior Teah Gentry shed 64 pounds. The average weight loss of all 13 students was 60 pounds.

What is a typical program at MindStream?

The academy includes equine-assisted therapy, nutrition, exercise and biofeedback data. The mission of MindStream is to help "teens achieve healthy weight, get fit and build self-esteem by nurturing their mind, body and spirit." The school teaches "teens proven, healthy life skills to handle the daily stress and triggers that have led to their unhealthy habits."

William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.

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