Mo. pupils who shed lbs. at SC program struggle

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Some students from a suburban Kansas City school district are finding it tough to keep the pounds off after returning from a weight-loss boarding school in South Carolina.

The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/18Q4m2m) reports that more than a dozen dangerously overweight students from the Independence School District attended MindStream Academy in Bluffton, S.C., in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013. The students shed anywhere from 60 to more than 100 pounds each.

A combination of grants and the public education dollars allotted each student paid the students’ tuition. But Independence has decided the idea is not sustainable, spokeswoman Nancy Lewis said. MindStream, meanwhile, is still reaching out to public school systems but working mostly closer to home.

Now home six months, some students are finding that keeping the weight off is a challenge.

“We hit a bit of a rough patch,” said Rebecca Peabody, whose 14-year-old son, Jareb, has gained back a portion of the 75 pounds he lost.

Peabody said she and Jareb are getting back to the planning they were doing, counting calories. They made a goal that he will lose 10 pounds before he and his father go on a hunting trip.

Kimberly Kuhlman, whose son, 12-year-old Cameron Larkins, was the youngest in the MindStream group, relished buying 32-inch waist jeans for her son. Cameron had been wearing 47-inch-waist pants a year ago, before MindStream.

But she’s also seen her son’s weight climb to around 180 pounds after he had dropped from 250 to 150.

Cameron said it probably would help if the district had followed through on plans to create opportunities for the MindStream graduates to get together so they could support one another.

“Everyone was always on top of each other to make sure they don’t get fat,” Cameron said. “We were really tight.”

Lewis said the district’s wellness director is now looking at ways to reach out specifically to the MindStream students but at the same time improve programs for all students.

“Our goal was to take what we learned and inspire what we do here,” Lewis said.

Kuhlman said she will have Cameron walking the 2 miles home from school. He turns 13 in December, and he will be old enough to get a gym membership. And they will keep eating the lean chicken and turkey and whatever else it takes.

“His grandma and I are adamant,” Kuhlman said. “We’re not going to let it get away.”

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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