When I think about dieting and weight loss, I think about how unnecessary it is to glorify it. We often view weight loss as a good thing, when, for some people, it’s dangerous. Dieting and weight loss can be taxing on the body and the mind—we cannot determine what’s going on with someone on the inside solely by examining them externally.
Weight-loss apps, in general, are inappropriate because they can easily be misused. Someone using a weight-loss app may begin to obsessively track every step and every calorie.
Obsessive thoughts could lead to severe food restriction and even an eating disorder down the road.
What makes matters worse is that Kurbo, the new weight tracking and dieting app introduced by Weight Watchers, is targeted to children. Not only does the app promote weight loss and dieting behaviors that can lead to obsessive thinking, but it also promotes these behaviors to children as young as eight years old.
At the age of eight, a child is still growing. It is completely normal to gain a substantial amount of weight at this age, just as it is normal to continue to grow in height. The Kurbo app not only tracks what is consumed by children, but it also motivates them to lose weight. The Kurbo website features “member stories” that show how happy children using the app are about losing weight.
I believe that your diet or weight should not determine your mood or confidence level. Thoughts like these are highly toxic—especially at such a young age.
Weight Watchers should not be teaching children as young as eight that they need to lose weight to feel beautiful, confident, and healthy. This is enraging for someone like me, who has survived bulimia and anorexia, and who has lost many friends to eating disorders.
Kurbo is promoting disordered eating in children by associating weight loss with happiness and making children think that they’re not good enough as they are.
The Kurbo app has gotten a lot of necessary backlash from eating disorder psychologists and dietitians, and I am hoping that this backlash will motivate Weight Watchers to terminate the app for good. That way, we can do our best to prevent the onset of eating disorders in innocent children.