14/07/2009 15:51 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Weight Loss Camps For Kids - Firefighter Style

With the school holidays about to start (yours might already be under way) I'm looking for fun ways to entertain the kids.

In the US there's a long-established option of sending your children off to stay in a summer camp in the holidays. And now variations on this theme are emerging, from the (more than a little odd sounding) Charm School for Girls, to the Fit as a Firefighter Camp now running in Louisiana.

However, this camp is not aimed at teaching your children the vital skills of how to put out a blaze or rescue kittens from trees. Instead, its purpose is closer to home: it's a weight loss camp for obese children, dressed up in a firefighter's uniform.

So it seems the idea is that you sell it to your chunky monkey on the basis that they're going to learn how to be Fireman Sam, but when they show up at camp they get an education in healthy living too.

Lessons include nutrition, portion control and what happens when you have a diet rich in sugar and fat. But there are also classes in rock climbing, karate, square dancing (square dancing???), CPR and first aid. The trainers do sound much more exciting than most: local firefighters, state police and Louisiana National Guard's Blackhawk Helicopter and Boot Camp all contribute to the programme of events.

Camp Program Director Taffy Morrison says the core focus is on improving the children's self esteem: "We try to teach on all the issues that they're dealing with right now. They are very sensitive children."

Firefighter Camp's success speaks for itself: there's a waiting list for spaces, and camp leaders say that kids often come back to camp the following year, trimmer and more fit. So whilst it may sound like an unusual approach, if it works, does that really matter?

What do you think about this? Would it work in the UK? If your child is or was overweight, would you consider sending them to a weight loss camp? If not, what would you do?

Source [ParentDish US]