Weight Watchers (now just WW) has launched a new app called Kurbo. Kurbo is aimed at kids and teens and is marketed as an app to “develop healthy eating habits and get active” according to Elle.
Like the regular ol’ WW method, the app uses a traffic light system. IE you can eat green foods all the time, yellow foods sometimes and basically stay away from red foods. The company is touting the app as something that will help kids learn to be healthier and make more informed decisions.
But, some people (myself included) are worried that it will spark body image issues in kids and teens. My mom did Weight Watchers when I was in high school and I did it along with her. Looking back, I was at a VERY healthy weight and didn’t need to lose a pound. But I was obsessed with it and how I looked and social media wasn’t even around yet.
Yes, I think that perhaps there is potential with Kurbo, especially if it’s gamified. But, I also see potential for it to add even more pressure onto kids to make them think they need to weigh in at a certain number or only eat certain things. Pair that with Instagram and it can be completely overwhelming. Personally I worry that being trained to track food at such a young age can be detrimental.
In the Elle article, an adolescent-weight-management specialist said “it’s helpful to intervene at a young age since it’s “easier to maintain weight or slow down how fast they’re gaining weight versus losing weight.” But the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended avoiding conversations about weight with children, encouraging parents to instead promote a healthy lifestyle.
You probably know this, but kids pick up on things. My mom and my sister were both very critical about the way they looked and I definitely picked up on that. So, I don’t really know what the right approach is here. But I worry for my niece and my younger cousins because it’s a hard area to navigate as an adult, let alone a kid getting messages from family, media, peers and now Kurbo—an app from a well-known weight loss company.