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Aspen Education Group
Cerritos, CA

Ryan Craig
Academy of the Sierras
(917) 575-8903

September 14, 2005


Aspen Education Group, Cerritos, CA, announced the unprecedented weight loss outcomes for students attending the inaugural academic year at Academy of the Sierras, the nation’s first residential treatment program and boarding school for adolescent and childhood obesity. For the 23 students who attended Academy of the Sierras for at least one semester (approximately 28 weeks), the average total weight loss was 85 pounds, or 3.4 pounds per week. Overall, students achieved a 64 percent reduction in their percentage overweight.

According to Ryan Craig, Executive Director of Academy of the Sierras and President of the Healthy Living Academies division of Aspen Education Group, the results far exceed those of any other comparative, controlled treatment program. “The highest success we have read about in previous controlled programs for children was a 30 percent reduction in their percentage overweight,” said Craig. “Students at Academy of the Sierras were able to achieve far better weight loss results by living in a controlled, supportive environment with a dedicated team of behavioral clinicians, nutritionists, educators, trainers, residential counselors and medical professionals who helped them improve their self-regulating skills.”

Typical of the success stories at the Academy of the Sierras was a 12 year-old boy who joined the program weighing 244 pounds and went home almost a hundred pounds lighter, and a 15 year-old girl who dropped 49 pounds after originally weighing in at 207 pounds.

Elliot Sainer, CEO of Aspen Education Group, said the weight loss results demonstrate that there is hope for today’s overweight and obese children and their families.

“Childhood and teen obesity affects approximately one-third of American children today, and is the root of many serious health and social problems for young people, and our entire nation,” said Sainer. “This program shows that there are effective and safe approaches to weight loss, and that behavioral change can produce significant, lasting results to help children lead healthy, happier lives.”

“Factors such as sedentary lifestyles, peer pressure, cultural influences and biological resistance to losing weight make successful weight loss difficult to achieve in today’s environment,” added Dr. Daniel Kirschenbaum, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University and Clinical Director of Healthy Living Academies.

“Academy of the Sierras promotes the development of ‘super-normal’ healthy habits – such as self-monitoring, goal-setting, problem-solving and stress management – to help students improve their fitness, increase their feelings of self-worth, and develop skills to master weight control. This includes an elaborate after-care plan to help students transition back home successfully.”

Kirschenbaum added that in a recent follow-up study from Healthy Living Academies’ Wellspring weight loss camps, campers continued to lose an average of 7.4 pounds over a period of six months after returning home.

Academy of the Sierras, located in Reedley, California, accepts boys and girls ages 13-18 who are at least 30 pounds overweight and have been struggling with weight or obesity for at least two years. Dateline NBC followed four students over a five-month period at Academy of the Sierras and aired their inspiring success stories on August 19, 2005. As the teens celebrated graduation at Academy of the Sierras, Dateline commented, "Together they lost more than 300 pounds, and together they gained a new way of life." Dateline has followed up with the students since their graduation and learned that the four have continued to lose weight - at least 7 pounds each.

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. To learn more, visit www.healthylivingacademies.com. For more information on Academy of the Sierras, visit www.academyofthesierras.com, or call 866-364-0808.

Aspen Education Group is recognized nationwide as the leading provider of education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s 31 programs in 11 states provide a range of therapeutic interventions, including boarding schools, residential treatment and wilderness therapy. For more information, visit www.aspeneducation.com, or call (888) 972-7736.

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