WW has acquired and relaunched an app called Kurbo, a weight loss app being aimed at children as young as eight.
Childhood obesity has been a major issue during the 21st century. Governments and parents alike have been trying to tackle and reduce it in a variety of different ways. Doing so is somewhat of a tightrope walk, though. As we attempt to help children live healthier lifestyles, we also don't want them to feel horrible about themselves and possibly even develop an eating disorder.
As adults, many of you reading this have probably used a weight-loss help to help you get in shape. What we hadn't considered until now is that someone would create an equivalent for children, but here we are. Earlier this week, Weight Watchers (now rebranded as WW) acquired and relaunched a weight loss app aimed at children as young as eight, reports TechCrunch.
The app has actually existed for a while. Its aim was to effectively give access to otherwise expensive information in relation to childhood obesity. It didn't track a child's weight and just used a color code system to let users know what foods are good and not so good. Those elements of the app have remained in place upon WW's acquisition, but it's the tweaks that have got parents up in arms.
The app will now allow children to track their weight, BMI, and even set themselves weight loss goals. This is where issues lie for adults, let alone children. Setting goals leads to the possibility of failure, and also going to extreme measures to hit those goals should they feel as if they need to. The app's Snapchat-style "tracking streaks" also aren't sitting well with parents.
Perhaps the biggest issue of all is the multitude of reasons why a teenager might experience sudden weight gain. It isn't always related to consuming more calories. It could be due to a hormone imbalance caused by puberty, or perhaps even a growth spurt. If a teenager stands on the scales and sees that they have gained weight, chances are those other potential reasons won't cross their mind, possibly placing them on a dangerous path.