Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Gail Bass


Child; Obesity -- therapy; Fitness Centers


The prevalence of childhood obesity is rapidly increasing in the United States and the percentage of overweight or obese children in South Dakota exceeds the objective set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2000). An extensive review of literature was completed on the prevalence and characteristics of obesity in children as well as interventions such as a multi-disciplinary team approach and family involvement. A review of the use of measurement tools both for screening and outcome measures was also conducted. There are significant health and societal impacts that accompany the increasing prevalence of obesity in our communities. One of the challenges in addressing obesity is developing approaches that will aid the child and their family in implementing a lifestyle change in their daily lives. A summer camp based in the child's community provides a fun and accessible avenue to explore healthy food choices and choose active leisure options. A multi-disciplinary team comprised of pediatric allied health professionals offers knowledge and experience with assessing the needs of the child and family, applying technical knowledge of nutrition and fitness, and creating an environment for change. Many of the decisions surrounding a child's food and fitness choices are strongly impacted and limited by their environment. Shaping a camp environment that represents the camper's daily lives will give them an opportunity to adapt to the challenges presented as they apply healthy living in their homes, schools, and communities. The product developed for this project is a handbook that serves as a comprehensive resource for implementing a wellness camp for children with obesity. The handbook was designed to be an easy to use resource for multi-disciplinary teams of healthcare professionals to use in their communities. The multi-faceted curriculum included in the handbook takes a fun, community based approach to making healthy food choices and choosing active leisure options. The handbook provides detailed descriptions of the structure of the camp, staff roles, goals of the camp, and adaptations for different populations. The handbook is divided into six sections. Each section contains all the information and forms needed to run each one of the four hour camp sessions. At the back of the handbook there are survey forms designed to be completed by campers and parents at the conclusion of the camp.