SOURCE: CRC Health Group

CRC Health Group

January 22, 2013 08:03 ET

Researchers From Wellspring Weight Loss Programs Reveal Recommendations for Teens' Long-Term Success in Two New Published Papers

CUPERTINO, CA--(Marketwire - Jan 22, 2013) - Researchers from Wellspring, America's leading provider of weight-loss camps and residential treatment programs for overweight young people, families, and adults, recently published two articles in peer reviewed scientific journals that provide recommendations for teens' long-term weight-loss success, addressing the nation's growing childhood obesity crisis head-on.

In a paper published in Childhood Obesity in October 2012 (, Dr. Daniel Kirschenbaum, the senior member of Wellspring's research team and professor at Northwestern University, noted that, "We conducted detailed qualitative analyses based on transcribed interviews with some of our very successful teenage weight controllers -- what we termed 'Losers' -- more than a year after they participated in one of our Wellspring Camps, as well as some of their peers who regained at least some weight after leaving camp, the 'Gainers.'"

Dr. Kirschenbaum continued, "Losers reported following the key guidelines from Wellspring more carefully than Gainers by eating very little fat, staying more active, weighing themselves more, and self-monitoring -- or tracking -- their eating very consistently, either in writing or using a phone app. The Losers also indicated that they found even negative experiences from their past, like being teased or feeling depressed, as sources of inspiration, part of their current 'healthy obsessions.'" 

These findings reinforce the critical role of close monitoring of eating and activities and using both positive (e.g., improved moods and health) and negative (e.g., former sadness or instances of being teased) memories as motivators, explained Dr. Kirschenbaum.

The Wellspring Childhood Obesity study illustrates what teens can do to help themselves, but what can parents and healthcare providers do to help young people who struggle with excess weight? 

That answer lies in a review paper published this month in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (, in which Dr. Kirschenbaum and doctoral student Kristen Gierut reviewed five sets of recent expert recommendations: 2007 Healthcare Organizations' Four Stage Model, 2007 Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines, 2008 Endocrine Society Recommendations, 2009 Seven Step Model, and 2010 U.S. Preventive Task Force Recommendations. 

In the paper, Kirschenbaum and Gierut examined the expert recommendations pertaining to the four primary treatments that offer the most promise for reducing excess weight in obese children and teens: self-help groups, outpatient cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), immersion CBT, and surgery.

All of the expert committees supported using intensive dietary education, physical activity training and CBT, a scientifically based approach to help people improve their goal setting, planning, self-monitoring and related skills, attitudes, and emotions. Two of the five groups discouraged reliance on educational interventions alone "because just telling people how to lose weight rarely does any good," explained Dr. Kirschenbaum. Two other groups advised referring clients to increasingly intensive interventions, a stepped-care approach that suggests that if self-help and outpatient counseling prove ineffective, parents and healthcare providers are encouraged to send overweight teens to immersion CBT treatment, which is currently available through therapeutic weight-loss camps or boarding schools, or even consider surgery if necessary for very obese teenagers.

Dr. Kirschenbaum concluded, "Greatest benefits may accrue by encouraging healthcare providers and parents to view medical management and education as foundations to change, but to pursue increasingly intensive viable options until overweight and obese children make clinically significant progress toward improved health and happiness. The message is that obesity won't just go away by itself -- and it's important to keep taking the necessary steps to produce lifelong change."

About Wellspring

Wellspring is America's leading provider of weight-loss camps and residential treatment programs for overweight young people, families, and adults. Wellspring Camps and Wellspring Academy have helped thousands of overweight and obese individuals achieve dramatic weight loss, better fitness, and improved moods and self-confidence. With several programs nationwide and one in the UK, Wellspring programs have achieved among the best results ever reported in scientific journals for non-surgical weight loss programs for children, adolescents or adults.

Wellspring is a member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. CRC Health Group offers the largest array of personalized treatment options, allowing individuals, families, and professionals to choose the most appropriate treatment setting for their behavioral, addiction, weight management and therapeutic education needs. CRC is committed to making its services widely and easily available, while maintaining a passion for delivering advanced treatment. Since 1995, CRC programs have helped individuals and families reclaim and enrich their lives.

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