Does Obesity Rehab for Kids Work?

More than one-third of U.S. teenagers are overweight. A boarding school is trying to change that, one child at a time

Andy Richter for TIME

Fedorchalk, left, and Fahl, right, in hat, stretch after a walk. Most incoming students are unused to regular exercise and have difficulty completing the morning walk around campus

Elizabeth Fedorchalk was tired of being fat. She had been trying to lose weight since elementary school, but diets never made a difference. She wasn't husky. She wasn't big-boned. By age 16, the 5-ft. 5-in., 291-lb. high school junior from Holts Summit, Mo., was undeniably obese. And each year, it was only getting worse.

Fedorchalk's diet was abysmal. She skipped breakfast, ate lunch at school — usually chicken strips and fries — and frequently had dinner at McDonald's: a burger and more fries. She drank nondiet soda and snacked on potato chips and Little Debbie cakes. She never exercised because, between...

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