Weight Watchers, Kurbo and Dieting Are Dangerous For Kids
When I was a junior in high school I used my mom's old weight watchers book to put myself on a diet. I kept a physical food journal and counted calories along with my points. I often ate less than 1,200 calories a day and more often then not was less than a 1000. On these days I would make notes in my journal that I did good. I started working out with the main intention to burn off as many calories as I could. Ideally as much as I ate. I lost weight. I thought I was healthy. Everyone from family to lunch ladies complimented me on my weight loss. This weight loss actually altered my career goals. I had originally was accepted to and wanted to go to culinary school. The same one Emril and Tyler Florence went to. However part of the reason I didn't go was I was afraid I would gain the weight back. This is the one part of the "weight loss journey" I am grateful for, since it caused me to change my major to Nutrition and I became a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician Registered, and I strive to use evidence based research to promote health at every size.
It was actually not until I started to learn about body positivity just within the last few years that I realized how disordered and unhealthy my eating was. Even when I was in college majoring in Nutrition and a year or two after I did Weight Watchers two more times. I weight cycled. I couldn't keep all the original weight off without excessive restrictions. And each of the two other times I did WW, I gained back all that I lost and then some. Even with my degree and background...because that is how the diet industry works! WW changes their plan ever few years....why? Because people will think it will be better this time!
If dieting works, then why constantly change the plan? Dieting and restricting food is one of the main causes of overeating and weight gain. Most people who diet will gain it back and then some. This weight cycling/ yo-yo dieting is actually more harmful to your health than being overweight or obese.
Now, wanting to tap into an EXTREMELY vulnerable untapped market...Weight Watchers has partnered with Kurbo to create a weight loss app for kids!!! Under the disguise of health concerns they have essentially created an app to make money of giving children eating disorders. Children are already over 8x more likely to develop an eating disorder than type 2 diabetes. Dieting is one of the leading factors associated with eating disorder development.
This program labels food as green for good, red for bad and yellow for in between.Labeling foods as good and bad are one of the key factors in unhealthy relationships with food and binge eating.
Think of a tray of brownies. If I put them in front of you (or a child) they would have some, enjoy it and move on with their life. Now if you are on a diet and can't eat brownies...they are BAD. You will probably still eat one, then feel guilty, then eat more out of guilt or eat more because you tell yourself this is your LAST treat. No more BAD food! If you tell a kid they can't or shouldn't have something, they are going to want it even more!
WW and Kurbo knew that this program could lead to disordered eating so they hired a team of coaches to monitor for this. According to the website the "coaches backgrounds are primarily in communications, economics, businesses and tourism management. With only 3 in fields in phycology, Nutrition and health care management. Not a single RD. Now tell me, do you think with those backgrounds, do you think WW is more focused on the money or the well being of children! Furthermore, if you knew if this eating disorder potential...why continue on with developing the program?
I can already see what is going to happen next. WW will tell kids that regular cookies and chips are "red foods" but if you buy their new cookies and chips they are "yellow" or even "green foods!"
I was the obese kid, and guess what? I am obese now. I weight cycled and to yo-yo’ed and spent some time in lower BMI ranges. However, I haven't dieted in 3 years and I plan on keeping it that way. In that time I developed a better relationship with my body and exercise.
I no longer count calories but count miles...and not to earn my food. You never need to earn your food.
I do it to challenge myself, not to punish myself. I do it because I enjoy being active and not because I hate my body. I am just one example out of millions about how you don't need to diet, loose weight or be a certain BMI to be healthy and happy.
I know from not only personal experience but evidence backed research studies that this is such a bad and dangerous idea. Just shame on you WW!
If you are concerned about your kids weight:
- Remember dieting and weight loss is not recommended for children. They are still growing!
- They are impressionable. Watch how you talk about your body in front of them and never comment on their weight or size. If you are cutting carbs, they are going to wonder why mom gives me bread but she won't eat it.
- Cook with them, take them grocery shopping, garden, encourage tasting new things...
- Never label food as good or bad (red or green)