Leeds Beckett Professor featured in BBC obesity documentary
Paul Gately, Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Beckett and founder of specialist weight management provider More Life, will appear in the two-part documentary I Know What You Weighed Last Summer, which follows a group of obese teenagers spending five weeks at a camp together in an effort to tackle their weight issues.
The programmes will be shown on Monday 4 January and Monday 11 January at 9pm on BBC Three and will also be available on BBC iPlayer after broadcast.
Cameras were invited along to document the goings-on at MoreLife Summer Camp, Europe’s longest-running weight loss summer camp, and film everything; from intense physical activity sessions to weekly weigh-ins and interactive educational sessions.
The camp’s approach doesn’t simply concentrate on weight loss goals but focuses on helping young people tackle issues such as self-esteem, body confidence, severe bullying and depression.
The opening episode focuses on Katie, a 15 year-old who weighs 17 and a half stone and admits her confidence and humour is a form of self-defence. 14 year-old Lana weighs 19 and a half stone. She acts as a young carer for her disabled mum and finds it difficult to find time to care for herself.
Speaking about the documentary, Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Beckett and founder of MoreLife Camp, Paul Gately, said “We want everybody to understand the difficulties and challenges overweight young people face every day and how the support of our fantastic staff at the camp can help to overcome these.”
As well as the 8–17 year olds that attend MoreLife Camp, the documentary will focus on the staff that sacrifice their summers to work there. Most have a background in health, sport or education and are supported by a team of volunteers.
Head of Programming at MoreLife, Nicola Sides, who is studying for a PhD in Psychology and has worked on the camp for five summers, said: “It’s incredibly fulfilling watching these children transform over the course of the summer. Not only do they lose weight but they gain bags of confidence and make friends for life. Just being a part of it is amazing!”
Professor Paul Gately has been at the helm of MoreLife since it was established at Leeds Beckett University in 1999 and it is now one of the largest specialist training and services provider for tackling childhood and adult obesity. During this time, over 10,000 8-17 year olds have been helped to lose weight through MoreLife camps, with the average child losing a stone during the 5-week programme.