On the food front, there are a few camps teach­ing healthy life­style lessons

Friday - - Inside -

that chil­dren here need be­cause, ac­cord­ing to the 2011 MOH sur­vey, only one in six chil­dren in the UAE is get­ting the 60 min­utes of ex­er­cise a day the­World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends.

Too many calo­ries and not enough ex­er­cise is a recipe for fat, which is why C-PiWeight Loss Camp is bor­row­ing an­other, more hard­core so­lu­tion from the US. Set up four years ago, the C-Pi Camp, aimed at obese chil­dren aged 11-17, is the Mid­dle East’s only res­i­den­tial fit­ness and fat-bust­ing boot­camp. As well as pro­vid­ing tai­lored diet/fit­ness plans to help kids shift the weight, it also ed­u­cates board­ers about life­long weight con­trol and healthy habits with a ded­i­cated course in health science. In typ­i­cal Dubai style, it also of­fers fab­u­lous fa­cil­i­ties – re­sort-like swim­ming pools, a ballet/yoga suite, an Olympic-size run­ning track and a lux­ury spa.

Of course, we all know that preven­tion is bet­ter than cure, so weight loss camps should be seen as a last re­sort. A more proac­tive path for par­tic­i­pa­tion is one of the UAE’s many health- or fit­ness-fo­cused camps.

On the food front first, there are a few camps teach­ing healthy life­style lessons. The School of Culi­nary and Fin­ish­ing Arts at JLT is KHDAap­proved and has com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion as a key part of its mis­sion. Its Mini Mas­ter Chef sum­mer camp teaches kids aged four to seven about the ben­e­fits of a healthy diet.

Dubai’s Monarch Learn­ing & De­vel­op­ment Cen­tre has also jumped on the obe­sity-bust­ing band­wagon, with a sum­mer camp com­bin­ing team-build­ing games with health­care ed­u­ca­tion. It teaches kids why ex­er­cise is im­por­tant, and shows them how to be mind­ful about what they eat. It prac­tises what it preaches too, dish­ing up healthy meals as part of the Dh700 week-long pack­age. While culi­nary camps with a healthy mes­sage are still in the mi­nor­ity, there are scores of sports-ded­i­cated camps. Many fo­cus on a solo ac­tiv­ity, with football, ten­nis, bas­ket­ball and swim­ming camps the most com­mon. And while some of th­ese tar­get kids with sport-spe­cific skills, help­ing them hone their tech­niques and tac­tics (Act Sports Ten­nis Acad­emy, MPAC Bas­ket­ball Acad­emy, IFA Sports Football Acad­emy) many act as an in­tro­duc­tion to the sport for kids with lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence or ex­per­tise.

Football Cen­ter’s Anouar says his aim with his football sum­mer camp is to in­tro­duce kids to fit­ness via fun. This way, they’re more likely to en­joy it and so con­tinue once sum­mer is over. Zoe Da Silva op­er­a­tions man­ager of Ur­ban En­ergy Fit­ness, agrees: “A sports sum­mer camp is ideal as sport is in­tro­duced in a friendly, non­com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment, where the im­pe­tus is on par­tic­i­pa­tion, not com­pe­ti­tion.”

Kids can so eas­ily get ‘left be­hind’ in school sports ac­tiv­i­ties, per­haps due to a bad ex­pe­ri­ence or feel­ing that they’re not ath­letic ma­te­rial. “It’s im­por­tant to ac­knowl­edge that not all kids will be great at sport and some may not en­joy it. The key is to find ac­tiv­i­ties the child en­joys do­ing and feels they’re do­ing well, so their self-es­teem is boosted,” says Zoe. Rein­tro­duc­ing them to phys­i­cal ex­er­cise in a fun en­vi­ron­ment with fresh faces can save them from a life of lethargy.

Take Tom, for in­stance, a non-sporty child – “I couldn’t catch a ball and would get laughed at,” he ad­mits. Tom suf­fered trau­matic school sports day ex­pe­ri­ences and turned his back on fit­ness. But through a sum­mer camp, he was in­tro­duced to a taster ses­sion of mar­tial arts. He found that not only was he quite good at it, but he loved it. He’s now a blue belt in tae kwon do and works out five times a week.

For kids like Tom put off by sport in school, less-tra­di­tional sports camps could be just the ticket to fire up their fit­ness. And there are camps to ap­peal to all ac­tive ap­petites. There’s a gym­nas­tics camp courtesy of Sporty Camps Gym­nastEx; horse rid­ing at Hoof­beatz’s Equine Camp; and a fo­cus on ex­cit­ing Brazil­ian mar­tial art at Level Up Skills’ Capoeira Camp. There’s also Ski Dubai’s five-day ski­ing camp for kids

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.