Help Your Children’s Healthy Habits By Perfecting Your Own: Exclusive Interview With Camp Shane

First lady Michelle Obama is an advocate against childhood obesity (while mom Mariska Hargitay speaks out on healthy body image)…

Do you ever wonder how your eating habits effect your children? Do you have an opinion on fat-loss camps or TV shows (like The Biggest Loser?) We chatted with Ziporah Janowski, co-owner of Camp Shane and Shane Diet Resorts, to get the inside scoop on creating healthy habits in the home (and sustaining long term results).

1. So, can you tell me a little bit about Camp Shane?

“Camp Shane is the longest running weight loss camp in the world. We were founded in 1968 by my husband’s parents. We now have locations in the Catskill Mountains of New York and in Mayer, Arizona. At our New York location, we provide summer weight loss camp programs for boys and girls between the ages of 7 – 17 as well as young women between the ages of 18 – 25. In our Arizona location we provide programs for boys and girls between the ages of 7-17.

We also operate Shane Diet Resorts, which is located at Honor’s Haven Resort in Ellenville, NY.Shane Diet Resorts offers weight loss programs for young adults from 18 – 25 and adults 26+.It is the perfect playground for grownups who want to change their lives (and have a cool vacation).”

2. So, Shane Diet Resorts is for young adults as well as adults?

“Yes, Shane Diet Resorts offers 2 to 8 week weight loss programs for young adults ages 18 – 25, as well as an adult weight loss camp program for men and women 26 ages and older (for one to eight weeks starting June 20 until August 15). We see people in all phases of their lives at Shane Diet Resorts: everyone from new moms who are looking to get back to their pre-baby weights, to empty nesters, newlyweds, brides and grooms-to-be, and recent college graduates who are looking to shed pounds before they enter the workforce. In addition to bringing people together of all different ages, we attract people from throughout the US and all around the world. Although our campers are very diverse, they form special bonds with one another over the common desire to get fit and live healthy!”

3. Is Camp Shane a fat camp or a boot camp like The Biggest Loser?

“Funny you should mention that… we get that a lot. Unlike traditional “fat camps” or “boot camps,” Camp Shane and Shane Diet Resorts focus on long-term, realistic weight loss goals. Because of this, our campers have an extremely high success rate when it comes to keeping weight off for the long-term. Overall, we try really hard to provide a friendly, supportive and non-threatening environment.

Needless to say, when The Biggest Loser first debuted I was horrified. Everything from the name, to the “weigh in” outfits (tight shorts and bra tops for the women and no shirts for guys), and the fact that contestants go from zero exercise to 5 or 6 hours a day…all of it seemed wrong. We’ve learned that the contestants use some extreme methods just prior to their weigh-ins, such as dehydrating themselves and sweating out liquids, to name a few.  These are tricks and don’t lead to sustained lifestyle changes and permanent weight loss.  Also, the New York Times recently ran an article,, claiming that in an effort to keep the show interesting, the producers are recruiting heavier and heavier contestants, and experts question the safety of the extreme exercise regimens of the show.

With all of that said, I do think the show has done so much good! For example, I directly attribute the following benefits [America’s acceptance that overweight people are people just like them, that it’s okay for guys to lose weight, and more] to The Biggest Loser.”

4. What is your reaction to Michelle Obama’s recently launched “Let’s Move” initiative to combat childhood obesity?

“I applaud it and think it’s a great start. Her call for healthier food to be served in schools and sold in neighborhoods, coupled with the need for more exercise by kids are all important steps in this vital fight. One thing I would like to see is a greater focus on involving parents.Unfortunately, in my experience, obese parents often make for obese children.”

5. Do you think parents are to blame for childhood obesity?

“It’s a very tough question to answer. Of course all parents love their children and want the best for them but they face a huge challenge when it comes to combating obesity. It’s hard to say no to your kids when they cry “I’m hungry.” And how do you force them to be physically active when they refuse? And you have to give your thin kids more food and some junk food because they don’t have a problem and it wouldn’t be fair to deny them, would it?

With that said, kids don’t go food marketing. They don’t drive to restaurants. They don’t buy televisions. They usually don’t cook. Until a certain age, they are totally dependent upon their parents and caregivers for what they eat, both inside and outside the home.”

6. Are there specific tips you can provide for time-crunched parents to say no to eating out?

Yes! Here are five easy suggestions:

1. Make it a family affair. One of the best ways to prevent childhood obesity is getting kids into the kitchen. Encourage your kids to ask questions and help out while you are preparing the meal.

2. Get Technical. Subscribe to an e-newsletter that will email you healthy and quick recipes each week. There are thousands of them that you can sign up for on sites like and

3. Get Walking.
Buy a pedometer for everyone in the family and have a contest to see who can walk the most. Every 2k steps equals a mile. Aim for 10k steps a day!

4. Make frozen veggies your friend. Stock up on frozen veggies like spinach, peas and broccoli florets to add to main dishes or serve as sides by themselves. (In addition to lasting longer, research shows that today’s “flash frozen” vegetables can be just as healthful as their fresh counterparts).

5. Choose longer-lasting lettuce & keep the skins on. Sure, the triple-washed bagged lettuce is easy, but it costs a fortune and it doesn’t last very long.  Try seeking out lesser known types of fresh greens that last longer than the traditional green leafy lettuces. Examples of nutrient-rich lettuce types that last a long time (and are very inexpensive) include things like chicory, romaine, radicchio, kale and dandelion greens.Also, leave the skins on vegetables such as potatoes and carrots when you are cooking. Not only will it save you tons of time from peeling, but it helps to retain more of their nutrient value and fiber and keep you full longer.”

* What Do You Think: Do you agree that parents should be held accountable for their children’s weight?

Credit: © Celebrity Gossip and  Field Fare

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