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Fitness Boot Camp For Teens: Cool or Not?

The FitWit Foundation is focused on combating childhood obesity, but I'm wondering if its methods are both healthy and effective. CNN compares the nonprofit's six-week afterschool boot camp program to the Biggest Loser competition: While Biggest Loser rewards adults with large sums of money for meeting fitness goals, FitWit's competition rewards Atlanta Public School students with prizes like an iPod Nano.

Each week, volunteers lead students (who aren't involved in organized sports) through three 60-minute sessions involving fitness instruction and physical health education, and participants do two at-home workouts between sessions. FitWit instructor Ben Thoele said, "After six weeks, all participants have an increased total fitness ability. We averaged over 40 percent improvement in total fitness in our first program last spring. It's common to have a participant double their fitness ability."

I have no doubt participants leave the program with increased fitness levels, but I'm wondering if a six-week competition with prizes is the best way to influence kids to be healthy in the long-term. What do you think of the way the program is set up for students? Is it cool or not?


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