Mr. Prince: We'll see you when you get back from image enhancement camp.
Martin Prince: Spare me your euphemisms! It's fat camp, for Daddy's chubby little secret!
Mr. Prince: You promised you wouldn't make a scene.A summer camp where overweight and obese children are sent to lose weight. Of course the children's parents are oblivious to what actually goes on in fat camp. Drill Sergeant Nasties are everywhere, pushing the kids to their limit. The children constantly have to run up hills and the food is so scarce it could starve the kids to death, provided that they don't sneak candy into their rooms. Treatment is so bad that the kids will eventually plan a Great Escape, in which the camp councillors will use the same methods that prison guards will use to recapture escapees. This is not true of real fat camps of course, which always use positive reinforcement, and attempt to teach the children healthy eating habits, instead of starving them. They are called, the more politically correct, fitness and weight loss camps, and now also allow teens and adults to attend. Some of the stereotypes of fat camp are Truth in Television, however. Especially the running up the hill part.
— The Simpsons episode 4.1 "Kamp Krusty"
Examples Include:Comic Books
- Autobiographical Comic example: Aline Kominsky-Crumb, wife of Robert Crumb, was sent there in her youth by her weight-conscious mother, despite being not at all overweight. The camp wasn't run that well, as all the girls were able to smuggle in lots of junk food. At the end, she weighed ten pounds more than before.
- In The Goonies, one of the things Chunk confesses to when caught by the Fratellis was being sent to a fat camp and getting kicked out for pigging out.
- Disney movie Heavyweights. The camp is actually quite fun, until it's taken over by an overbearing fitness trainer played by Ben Stiller.
- One of the short stories in E.L. Konigsburg's Altogether, One At A Time is about a girl who's sent to fat camp.
- About half of Robert Kimmel Smith's Jelly Belly takes place at one. While it's not the sadistic kind, and protagonist Ned would actually like to be thinner, he hates the place and befriends kids who have no intention of losing weight or keeping it off if they do.
- The Well Farm project in Fat that Grenville attends towards the end of the book. It becomes the victim of one of his rampages.
- Many a Reality Show has been built around this.
- MTV had a show called Fat Camp.
- Short-lived teen show Huge.
- An adult example is The Biggest Loser.
- On Frasier, Daphne visited one of these off-screen. In Real Life Jane Leeves was on pregnancy leave.
- South Park: Cartman was sent to a fat camp, and came back skinny but it was really another kid he paid to show up and steal snacks he could sell to the other campers. Cartman is banned from the camp at the end when the other campers feel guilty over ruining the councellors hard work and admit to their cheating
- The Simpsons:
For you fat kids, my exclusive program of diet and ridicule will really get results!
- When Bart went to Kamp Krusty, Martin and others went to "Image Enhancement Camp." He and the others were liberated by Bart after his takeover of Kamp Krusty.
- "The Heartbroke Kid" had Bart sent to a fat camp after having a heart attack due to a steady diet from the schools new snack vending machines, alongside other Springfielders like Rainier Wolfcastle, Apu and Kent Brockman.
- As a young teenager, Homer was accidently stranded at a fat camp while trying to meet up with a young Marge at summer camp. He eventually manages to escape by conquering the camps ultimate escape preventer- a slight incline leading to the unlocked gate.
- Family Guy: After Lois lost her memory from Stewie's attempt at matricide, she works at a fat camp and tries to keep the kids from eating each other.
- In "Killer Queen", Peter and Chris are sent to a fat camp and soon discover that someone is killing the campers. Its hinted at that its Lois's brother Patrick, the Fat-Guy Strangler, a serial killer who targets obese people due to a psychotic compulsion, but he's actually framed by the real culprit, a competitive eater who Chris defeated in a hot dog contest.
- An episode of The Critic has Jay's son Marty sent to Exercise Camp. Its right next to the Exorcise Camp. Marty ends up losing 30 pounds and becomes quite popular. Jay manages to lose a measly two pounds, which he is elated over, refering to it as his "college weight".
- In the Hey Arnold! episode "Weighing Harold", Harold goes on a fat cruise which was pretty much a fat camp but on a ship. Unlike most examples listed here, the "Kid's Cruise to Lose" was actually pretty nice; with caring and encouraging trainers, fun exercise programs, and an all-you-can-eat salad bar. Unfortunately, Harold left the cruise even fatter than he was before.
- Connie from Doug was revealed to have gone to Camp Make 'Em Overs between the Nickelodeon and the Disney episodes. Doug initially didn't recognize her once he saw her newly svelt physique. When Doug ended up gaining some weight, Judy suggested they send him to the fat farm.
- Inverted in several African countries, where an engaged woman is sent to camp to gain weight.