What you need to know about the new KURBO app by Weight Watchers
As a pediatric nutrition coach by day, I help kids and families improve health habits every day. I also teach moms about how to model healthy habits to promote a positive body image for kids… and this app is FULL of RED FLAGS, and will no doubt lead to long lasting body dissatisfaction and a diet mentality.
Here are a few reasons why.
Kurbo is NOT shy about this being a weight loss app, and it’s marketed for kids as young as 8. Anyone who has any knowledge of child health/psychology, knows teaching kids to focus on WEIGHT will set them up for a very unhealthy path. When kids diet from an early age or are focusing on weight.
Their success stories page notes how much weight each child has lost or how many BMI points dropped. If Kurbo is using WEIGHT LOSS as their measurement of success, they are missing the mark. Weight loss does NOT equal health, and in fact can lead to worse health in the long run.
When kids are still growing in height, it’s rarely (if ever) recommended that they LOSE weight. Weight maintenance while growing in height will result in a decrease in BMI. Weight loss should be closely monitored by a professional… not an app! And again, any type of focus on weight loss for kids can be EXTREMELY triggering, and lead to ongoing dieting, eating disorders, depression, etc.
Kurbo is a food and exercise tracking app. This app is NOT habit-focused. It labels foods as red, yellow, and green foods. While this method has been beneficial for adults, it could easily lead kids to believe that red foods are “bad” foods, and create an unhealthy relationship with food.
[side note: I had my own spin out that was triggered by a food tracking app as an ADULT health educator, and ended up being bulimic. This can be VERY triggering for anyone with an obsessive personality]
The app promotes using screen time to track weight, log all food intake, and exercise. IN an age where teens are spending upwards of 7 hours per day on screens, and screen time is already taking away from physical activity in teen girls…. An app is NOT the answer.
You may be thinking… well isn’t there a childhood obesity epidemic? YES. But it’s not going to be solved with an app that encourages kids to lose weight. We as parents need to be responsible for creating a healthy home enviornment, and modeling BALANCE and taking care of our bodies. Kids don’t do the grocery shopping. They don’t cook the meals… parents do.