We hear all the time that childhood obesity is an epidemic and we’re flooded with images of children in larger bodies looking ashamed of who they are. I’m not ignorant to the health consequences that some children face for various health conditions and an imbalance of fuel (food) and activity. What I’m deeply concerned with is how Kurbo by WW (Weight Watchers) has developed an app for CHILDREN (geared towards 8 years old and up) to learn how to lose weight.
The app has a red, yellow, and green light system to teach kids about what foods are bad, not great, and okay. So what if a child chooses a red food? Then what? They begin to feel ashamed, that not only did they choose a “bad food” but now they are “bad for choosing it.”
Even when putting in a weight, age, and height in the app that puts you below the growth curve, you still have the option to choose the “lose weight” goal on the app. Many of the foods they have in each “light” section are ridiculous. Almonds and applesauce are yellow light foods for example. Those are delicious, nutritious, and easy snacks for kids!
“Asking kids to closely monitor and self-report everything they eat through an app with no in-person monitoring by a medical professional presents grave risks, including eating disorders, disordered eating and a potential lifetime of weight cycling and poor body image.”
Children should be encouraged to view “health” as a beautiful combination of mental, physical, and emotional health. That includes eating a variety of foods, even dessert!
How you can help:
Sign the petition to have the app removed.
If you want more information on why those of us in this field are concerned:
New York Times
If you’re a parent looking for resources:
Rachel Simmons' Book
Book to Eat Book
Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girl