What About the Health of My Child While in a Wilderness Program?

Part 4 in a series – click here to read part three on safety.


Will my child be healthy while in a wilderness program?

Health, Nutrition, and Exercise Research

A major concern with wilderness therapy programming is balancing a healthy diet with the appropriate level of physical activity. Through research using body mass index (BMI) and body composition data RedCliff has been able to find a healthy balance of diet and exercise based off a student’s individual physical needs. Using 10 years of BMI and body composition data on over 2000 participants RedCliff has been able to show that a health balance of diet and exercise can occur. RedCliff has found that:

  • Students at RedCliff Ascent move towards a healthy BMI and body composition, regardless of their initial BMI and body composition.
  • Underweight participants on average gain weight.
  • Males gain 7 lbs.
  • Females gain 9.4lbs.
  • Participants within the normal range of BMI stay about the same.
  • Males lose .7 lbs.
  • Females gain 2.6 lbs.
  • Overweight participants lose weight on average
  • Males lose 12.5 lbs.
  • Females lose 7 lbs.
  • Obese participants on average lose weight.
  • Males lose 37.7 lbs.
  • Females lose 30 lbs.
  • On average kids in wilderness therapy lose fat mass while gaining lean or muscle mass.

Wilderness healthy weight BMI

Male weight BMI chart

Female weight wilderness BMI

CONTINUE to part 5 of the research Series: “Constantly Improving our Wilderness Program – Current Research”