Nation's First Therapeutic
Boarding School or Overweight Teens, Academy of the Sierras,
Announces Initial Student Weight Loss Results
Weight Losses are Unprecedented in History
of Treatment for Childhood Obesity
Aspen Education Group
(CERRITOS, CA – January 31, 2005) — Aspen Education Group
today announced initial weight loss outcomes for students
attending the first semester at Academy of the Sierras, the
nation's first residential treatment program and boarding
school for adolescent and childhood obesity. For the 14 students
who attended at least nine weeks of the September - December
2004 semester, the average total weight loss was 55 pounds,
or 4 pounds per week. Over the three-month period, 93 percent
of students lost more than 30 pounds each. Such weight loss
is unprecedented in the history of treatment for adolescent
and childhood obesity.
"On a national level, clinic-based professional weight
loss programs for adolescents have typically achieved average
weight losses in the range of one to four pounds per month,"
said Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, Ph.D., clinical director of Academy
of the Sierras and a professor at Northwestern University
Medical School in Chicago. "Students at Academy of the
Sierras were able to achieve far better weight loss results
by being in a controlled and supportive environment that is
helping them develop self-regulating skills. Their accomplishments
were facilitated by a team of behavioral clinicians, nutritionists,
educators, personal trainers, residential counselors and medical
Academy of the Sierras/First Semester Results
In overweight children's normal environments, their own biological
resistance to weight loss, ingrained lifestyle behaviors,
peer pressure and cultural influences combine to make successful
weight loss very difficult to achieve or maintain. "But
an environment that promotes the development of 'super-normal'
healthy habits - such as self-monitoring, goal setting; problem
solving and stress management - for an extended period of
time gives overweight teens the opportunity to dramatically
reduce their weight, improve their fitness, improve their
moods and feelings of self-worth, and develop the skills to
sustain lifelong mastery of weight control," Dr. Kirschenbaum
said. "We also work very closely with families and have
an elaborate after-care plan to help students handle the transition
back home successfully."
In addition to their weight loss achievements, all students
at the academy recorded outstanding improvements in fitness,
as measured against baseline conditioning tests. Students
achieved improvements through walking and exercise programs
that averaged approximately 15,000 steps per day, recorded
on pedometers. This exceeds the 10,000 steps per day targeted
in clinic-based professional weight loss programs and is associated
with excellent long-term outcomes. Measures of strength also
revealed favorable changes. Students also demonstrated an
average improvement of 40 percent in upper body strength over
the first semester.
"We are very excited about our early results at Academy
of the Sierras," said Elliot Sainer, CEO of Aspen Education
Group. "The weight losses are remarkable, but the behavioral
changes we are seeing are equally impressive." For example,
over the two-week Christmas break at their homes, 69 percent
of students actually lost weight, a key indicator of behavioral
change given the students' histories of consistent weight
gain over the holiday season.
Academy of the Sierras employs lifestyle management training
that includes cognitive-behavioral therapy and coaching, an
extensive activities program, personal training sessions,
educational classes and peer interaction.
According to Ryan Craig, president of the Healthy Living
Academies division of Aspen Education Group and executive
director of Academy of the Sierras, the first semester's success
will provide critical motivation that will help the students
continue to master the behaviors necessary for maintaining
healthy weight over the long-term. "Through intensive
training and cognitive-behavioral therapy, we expect to see
equally impressive results for maintaining or continuing the
weight loss after these students graduate," Craig said.
Academy of the Sierras, located in Fresno, California, is
the nation's first year-round residential treatment program
and therapeutic boarding school for obese and overweight adolescents.
The program accepts boys and girls ages 13-18 who are at least
30 pounds overweight and who have been struggling with weight
or obesity for at least two years. For more information on
Academy of the Sierras, visit www.academyofthesierras.com,
or call admissions at 866 364-0808.
Academy of the Sierras is part of Aspen's Healthy Living
Academies, a division devoted to the establishment of boarding
schools and summer camps to address the teen obesity crisis
in America. The Healthy Living Academies advisory board consists
of international experts in pediatric and adolescent obesity.
To learn more, visit www.healthylivingacademies.com.
Aspen Education Group is the nation's leader in providing
educational opportunities that improve the quality of life
for troubled children, teens and young adults and their families.
Through Aspen's 30 programs in 11 states, parents can choose
from long-term residential treatment to community-based outpatient
services with a variety of therapeutic interventions that
include boarding schools, special education day schools, and
outdoor therapy wilderness programs. Aspen Education Group
was named among the top 100 education companies for the last
two years by Eduventures, a leading independent research firm
dedicated to learning markets.
For information about Aspen's other therapeutic schools
and programs, visit www.aspeneducation.com,
or call 888 972-7736.