Calorie-counting apps were designed to help people keep track of what they are consuming. Many users have rated these apps as useful in their weight loss journey. However, these apps are not only for adults. They are being downloaded by children, even though most recommend users to be 13-year-olds and older. Leslie Schilling, a registered dietitian and nutrition therapist has warned parents about the dangers in regards to these so-called wellness apps.
In an article, Schilling wrote for USANews.com, she tells of an 11-year-old client who was addicted to a calorie and fitness tracking app. She advised him to delete it for his own good. The boy cried and asked, "How will I know what to eat and how much?" This of course, was very concerning to her.
It started as a 'health' assignment at school. As stated in the USANew.com report, he was left unable to trust himself with his intake, cautious with food and becoming malnourished. He was dependant on this app which severely controlled his calories.
Apps like Kurbo, by Weight Watchers, are marketed for people who want to lose weight. It includes a section for recording your exercise routine, educational videos and color codes certain foods as healthy or as foods to avoid. Parents should supervise children with these apps as the kids are vulnerable to risky health behavior. The best way to oversee this issue is to simply discourage your children from using such apps, says Schilling.
Evelyn Tribole, another registered dietitian, is quoted saying, that Weight Watchers is profiting from a culture of "institutional narcissism." She pleads with parents to take charge due to the scary rise in eating disorders. Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, medical director of Gaudiani Clinic in Denver, is surprised that Kurbo, flags healthy foods like, peanut butter and granola, as a red colored food: something not to eat.
Moreover, what's not okay is the anxiety these youths feel in having to follow a strict regime. The issue with dieting has doubled over the previous decade. Many have taken the word 'wellness' to a whole other level. Instead of consuming healthy foods, many are eliminating nutritious foods, because of their high caloric value, and instead consuming less of it and eating empty calories.
Health officials advise people to make smart choices when eating. A slice of bread is 79 calories and a banana is 105 calories. If we base our choices on calories alone, one would choose the bread. Yet, if we choose based on what has more vitamins and nutrients for the body, one would choose the banana. Knowing the nutritional value of a piece of food is more than knowing its calories alone.