Weight Watchers: remove your weight loss app for kids
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Weight Watchers have launched a new weight loss app for children and young people aged 8-17 years old, despite robust evidence that dieting during childhood and adolescence is dangerous and strongly increases the risk of eating disorders, lifelong weight struggles and disordered eating.
Remove the app
We want Weight Watchers to cancel the app and recognise that dieting behaviours in young people should not be encouraged due to the risks associated with their mental and physical health. Any changes to a child's lifestyle should be made with the supervision of a paediatrician, not an app.
About the app
Weight Watchers acquired the Kurbo app in 2018, and have spent a year developing it. Children and young people enter their height, weight, age and health goals, then begin tracking what they eat. The app scores food choices using a “traffic-light” system: Green items are “go foods” that can be eaten freely; yellow foods should be consumed in moderate portions; and red foods should make kids “stop and think.” Categorising foods like this can lead to food guilt or anxiety.
The app has just been released in the US and could spread to other countries soon - unless we stop them
Dieting and Eating Disorders
Dieting is consistently found to be the single largest predictor of eating disorders, which have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and have affected me personally and many of my friends.
I was diagnosed with anorexia and spent time in hospital when I was 14. I found that calorie counting, tracking food and exercise, and traffic light systems categorising food as good or bad fuelled my eating disorder and made it harder to recover. Even now, apps like Kurbo are dangerous for me and can derail my recovery efforts.
Young people are already at a heightened risk of eating disorders and to encourage them to diet further shows that Weight Watchers is much more concerned about its revenue and income than it is about the long-term health of its members. 95% of diets fail and that's how Weight Watchers sees this target audience - a group of people they can have as lifelong customers.
Show them we don't agree, and we value our kids' mental and physical health over their weight.
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