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Research in Outdoor Education

DOI

10.1353/roe.2018.0003

Abstract

Overnight summer camps have previously been overlooked as settings for healthy eating and physical activity programming; however, recent summer camp research has begun to examine how summer camp programming can help fight childhood obesity. The purpose of this research was to identify and examine the efforts that Wisconsin overnight summer camps are taking to support campers in meeting national dietary and physical activity guidelines. Data were collected through in-person or phone interviews with 13 directors and owners of American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camps and were analyzed using a conventional content analysis and inductive thematic analysis approach. Results indicated that camp directors are trying to provide, or are already providing, healthy food that follows the national dietary recommendations and that campers who attend these overnight summer camps in Wisconsin are meeting or exceeding the national physical activity recommendations. Camp directors reported that their campers were physically active because of the amount of walking each camper had to complete in order to get from one activity to another (often across the camp property), in addition to their participation in a variety of program activities. Overnight summer camps are an ideal setting for the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity for children.

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