The Weight Watchers program has kickstarted a new app/plan…..but for kids. This new project, called Kurbo, is targeting kids the ages of 8 to 17. Read that again, 8 years old. WW has loosely based this app on Stanford University’s pediatric obesity program. When I looked up how this new app works, the website page says to “follow the traffic lights”
This could be informational to some adolescents, but I cannot shake the feeling that this program promotes unhealthy relationships with food. Similar the regular WW program, the children can track how many red, yellow, or green foods they’ve had, which basically means counting calories or ‘points’ like the original programs. Do you know who else counts and obsesses over calories? Most people with eating disorders. This certainly creates the idea that if a child is not ‘skinny’ or does not fit the mold, then they do not fit into society. Just think of all the body image issues that come along with this app. How can this diet culture based program not create body image problems? What if the parents only provide red light foods in the house or they are the only foods they can afford? Or do not have the education on healthy ways to eat? How will that make the child feel?
I would also like to point out the fact that none of the people who created this program have degrees in dietetics or any health care degree. A mom literally created it for her son, probably by researching things she found on google. They brought the idea to weight watchers and here we are now. There is no evidence or science based research by real professionals behind this program, only a mom following along with diet culture to make sure her son wouldn’t be obese anymore.
Another red flag is the questions that are asked when the kids sign up. Along with age, weight, height, and gender it asks why they want to start this diet.
These are the first 3 options. Make your parents happy?? Is this healthy behavior at all? Absolutely not. After choosing a goal you rank it from 1-10 of level of importance.
WW is not teaching kids why some foods are healthier than others, but rather, to choose certain foods over others so they can lose weight. The whole idea over this app is for kids to loose weight, not to create healthy eating and exercise habits. It is literally scientifically proven that pediatric dieting causes lifelong problems and unhealthy ideals of food for the rest of their life. So I am just wondering why weight watchers thinks this is a healthy and reasonable way for children to live their lives?
If you as a parent are worried about your child’s health, then look to yourself first. You are the example and the one who teaches them life lessons. If you are not being a good example and showing them how to eat and have a healthy lifestyle, then your child will not have a healthy life style. It starts with you. Your child watches and looks to you from such a young age as to how you act and treat your body. If you are still having trouble, maybe you are not as educated as you think. Seek advice and science based principles from professionals. There are countless resources at your disposal. Reach out to a Registered Dietician, make appointments to actually teach you and your child the importance of fueling your body and getting regular exercise.
Can Kurbo be sustainable throughout a lifetime? Will it create healthy habits that adolescents can follow into adulthood? Most likely not, so please do not give into the diet culture of todays world just so you do not have to worry about your kid being obese, but instead see a professional and actually make sure your kid can have a healthy lifestyle they can sustain for the rest of their life, and someday teach their own kids.
Please leave your thoughts on this program,