Nearly one in five adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity affects not only the physical , but also the mental health of a child.
Three teenagers -- Shaequan Edmonds, 16, of Parkville, Md.; Tori-Osha Lyas, 15, of Hattiesburg, Miss.; and Andrea "Poqui" Bergara, 13 of Austin, Texas -- understand firsthand the physical and emotional effects of obesity on their young lives. Now, all are determined to make a change.
This summer, the trio will participate in an intensive three-week weight loss program at New Image Weight Loss Camp at Pocono Trails in Reeders, Pa., to see who can lose the most weight by the end of camp.
Meet the three contestants in "Good Morning America Weekend's" first "Kid Fit Challenge."
No. 1: Shaequan Edmonds
Shaequan Edmonds is one of hundreds of children who entered the New Image Weight Loss Camp essay contest designed to award overweight kids a free three-week weight loss and nutrition program. His essay was so personal and powerful the camp selected him as one of 10 essay winners this summer. Shaequen says he wants to lose up to 25 pounds by the end of the camp. He aspires to be a professional actor one day.
No. 2: Andrea "Poqui" Bergara
Ever since first grade in school, Andrea says she's been eating the "fattiest food." Her size has brought her a lot of ridicule from her peers, and she cries herself to sleep many nights. Finally, she's decided to lose weight and change her image. Andrea entered the New Image Weight Loss Camp essay contest and was selected as one of 10 winners. Andrea initially wanted to lose 45 pounds by the end of the camp but has decided that was probably unrealistic. Her new goal is to lose 15 to 20 pounds. Her dream is to become a photographer.
No. 3: Tori-Osha Lyas
Tori never imagined she would need to go to a summer camp to lose weight until one day she looked at herself in the mirror and was "shocked and appalled." She admits she eats constantly and thinks she can "eat her problems away." While nobody openly teases or bullies her about her weight, Tori always feels like an "outcast" among her friends who are not overweight. She feels that people see her and immediately judge her by her size. Tori also wrote a compelling personal essay asking the New Image camp to accept her this summer, and it has. Tori aims to lose at least 5 to 10 pounds at the end of the camp. Her dream is to become a singer.
Over the next three weeks, the three contestants will provide text, photo and video updates
You can follow their progress on the Kid Fit Challenge blog here.
For more information about New Image Camp, visit www.newimagecamp.com