Around 19% of kids in the United States between 2 and 19 years old are obese. The obesity rates in teens specifically, aged 12 to 19 years old, has quadrupled since the 1980s. Establishing healthy eating habits in children will give them a better chance at continuing a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their life. Does Weight Watchers have the solution to the childhood obesity problem?
Weight Watchers introduced a new health app called Kurbo that caters towards kids to help them eat healthier and become more physically active. The app encourages its users to track their meals and it helps kids make healthy food choices by having different foods in green, yellow, and red categories. The app also features personal health coaches that kids can text or video chat with about their health. There are also games and videos to motivate children to their weight loss goals.
However, some people are concerned with how this app will influence the relationship kids have with food. Nutritionists are worried that the app may create or worsen eating disorders in children by making them meticulously track everything they eat. They are especially worried about weight loss pictures featured on the app that show kids before and after their weight loss.
A dietitian, Kerri Glassman, was featured on Good Morning America and claimed that, “Looking at before and after pictures of kids who have lost weight is absolutely something that could lead to children to feel horrible about themselves and it really is a form of body shaming.”
Critics are also upset about the options kids can pick for why they want to use this app. Kids can choose goals like eat healthier, lose weight, make parents happy, get stronger and fitter, have more energy, boost my confidence, or feel better in my clothes. People are specifically upset about the “make parents happy” option as they fear kids might be trying to lose weight just because their parents want them to and not because they want to. This kind of mindset can lead to unhealthy relationships with food and dieting.
What do you guys think? Is this a good app for kids to use? Or is this just Weight Watchers trying to hook their customers when they’re young?