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What About Physical Health?

Posted by Katie Massey, Research Director on November 26, 2014

Katie MasseyA First Look at Changes in Body Fat During Wilderness Therapy

At Second Nature we are obviously concerned about and committed to mental health. Perhaps not as obvious, is our focus on and commitment to physical health and well-being. For over a year, our nurse Adam at Entrada has been tracking the weight and body fat of our clients on a monthly basis. To get a first glimpse of these physical changes, I recently crunched the numbers for our clients that entered and graduated during 2014.

Taking into account age and gender, 45% of clients entered Entrada with a “healthy” body fat percentage; 22% entered with low and 34% entered with high body fat percentages. Ultimately, the trend is that clients gravitated to “healthy” levels of body fat while in wilderness treatment. This suggests that the healthy diet and exercise that participants get in our program attributes to positive body fat changes.

Clients who entered Entrada with overweight body fat percentages, lost body fat. Those categorized in low and healthy zones gained body fat (or increased their percentage of body fat), though still remaining in a “Healthy Zone” upon graduation. Females with low and healthy levels saw greater increases than boys, and overweight boys saw bigger decreases than girls.

We have been measuring and monitoring behavioral and emotional outcomes for a number of years, and we are very excited to add this component of physical health to our research. While this is just a first peek at the findings around physical health, it is encouraging to see it mirroring the emotional and behavioral changes – moving in the direction of “healthy.”

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