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English Discussion Club: Weight-Loss Camps

Before reading
I. Discuss with the partner the reasons why more kids are overweight and think what can be done about it. Do you think that children in your country are becoming more overweight?
II. Answer the questions:
  1. What do you think weight-loss camps are like?
  2. Do you think weight-loss camps are a good idea? Why?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of weight-loss camps?
  4. Would you go to a weight-loss camp if you needed to lose weight? Why or why not?

III. Match the words with their definitions:
1. sweet-natured  
2. size
3. to tease  
4. obese
5. overweight    
6. to bully  
7. nutrition   
8. to progress    
9. shepherd’s pie
10. helping   
11. snack   
a) too heavy or fat
b) a dish made of lamb with mashed potatoes on top
c) to frighten or hurt a weaker person
d) how big someone or something is
e) a small amount of food that you eat between meals
f) to make fun of someone
g) a portion of food at a meal
h) so fat that it may cause health problems
i) nice, kind
j) to develop or improve
k) the study of human diet
Weight-loss Camps
weight-loss-004The first weight-loss camp for young people in the UK opened in July 1999. So, is a stay at a weight-loss camp frightening or fun?
Darren Debono is sweet-natured and doing well at school. He wants to be an actor or a police officer. Unfortunately, most people are interested in his size than his personality. Darren is 5 feet 10 inches (1.75 metres) tall and weighs 20 stone (127 kilograms). He is twice his ideal weight. He is teased about his weight by children at his school so he has decided to attend Britain’s first weight-loss camp for obese children.
Weight problems among children in Britain are increasing. In 1996 about 5 per cent of children in Britain were overweight. In the year 2000, 10 per cent of British children were obese and 20 per cent or more were over their ideal weight. Obese children are often bullied at school and may have health problems when they become adults. Most doctors blame the problem on too much junk food, computer games and TV.
Each morning at the camp, the children do three hours of activities like football, hockey and rugby. After lunch they do another sport like basketball. They have lessons on nutrition and cooking as well as discussions where they talk about how they’re feeling and progressing. Most kids leave the camp with lots of new friends and feeling healthier and happier than before.

Darren’s diet at home

Darren’s diet at camp

Crunchy Nut cornflakes
two slices of toast
Mid-morning snack:
sweets, crisps
burger and chips
Mid-afternoon snack:
chocolate, fizzy drinks, more burgers
large portion of shepherd’s pie – plus second helpings
General snacks:

low-fat pizza
Mid-afternoon snack:
fresh fruit or vegetables (only two snacks allowed per day)
beef risotto (restricted portion)
IV. Read the text and answer the questions:
  1. Why isn’t Darren popular?
  2. Why has Darren decided to go to a weight-loss camp?
  3. What does Darren want to do when he leaves school?
  4. Why is being obese bad for teenagers?
  5. What do doctors think has caused the increase in obesity in Britain?
  6. What different types of activity do children do at weight-loss camps?
  7. What kind of atmosphere is there at the weight-loss camp?
V. Discussion:
  1. Discuss Darren’s two diets. What is wrong with his diet at home and what improvements are there in his camp diet?
  2. Which diet would you prefer and which diet most resembles your own? Do any improvements need to be made in your diet?
  3. Make a plan that explains what kinds of food should be available in the school canteen and what kinds of exercise the kids should do and how often.