Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

A summer day camp approach to adolescent weight loss
Southam, M., Kirkley, B., Murchison, A., and Berkowitz, R.
Adolescence, 9.76 (1984), pp. 855-866.

Determine the effectiveness of a summer day camp program focused on instruction about eating and exercise habits in helping overweight adolescents lose weight.

25 overweight adolescents: 20 girls and 5 boys between the ages of 11 and 18. 18 campers participated in the four-week session and seven attended the eight- week session.

Camp Affiliation: Stanford University Adolescent Weight Loss Camp.

Method: Camp program that provided an intensive behavioral program designed to facilitate eating and exercise habit change, practice and supervision of exercise and eating habits during the camp day, involving parents to support campers habit changes. Camp program was either four or eight weeks long, four mornings per week. Daily schedule included four periods: aerobic exercise, behavioral counseling, sports skills instruction, and eating lab. Parent seminars were conducted once each week.


  • Body Composition Measures: skinfold thickness, weight, and height.
  • Knowledge Test, Habit Inventory, Self-esteem Scale (Mellin, 1980).

Design: Pre-test/post-test on all measures, with weekly measures of weight.


  • Significant increase in the mean number of correct responses on the Knowledge Test (information related to nutrition and weight loss).
  • Non-significant positive changes in each of the four habit areas (energy intake, energy output, psychological habits, societal habits).
  • Slight non-significant increase in self-esteem scores.
  • The most frequently mentioned behavior changes mentioned on evaluations were changes in eating habits, increase in exercise, and a more positive attitude toward self and weight loss.