The internet exploded into outrage the other day when WW (formerly Weight Watchers) announced the release of a new app for kids that is intended to aid in weight management. The new app is called Kurbo By WW, and many people took to social media to call out the company for making an app that targets young kids.
Childhood obesity is a problem, and it can be very difficult for people to navigate the modern food system where the availability and affordability of fresh whole foods can be problematic for some. The app is reported to use a system that is similar to stop lights, with green choices (better for you), yellow choices (should be in moderation), and red choices (the stereotypical "bad for you" foods) outlined.
Aside from the fact that it can be a whole can of worms to get kids that early on to be thinking about their weight, using a system that promotes weight and food tracking might have the potential to contribute to the development of disordered eating habits. Additionally, it can be dangerous to get young people thinking in terms of "good" and "bad" when it comes to food.
It can be really hard for anyone to navigate the way our culture equates thinness with health, despite the fact that this isn't necessarily true. This can be doubly true when it comes to kids, who are still absorbing all these things that society throws at us when it comes to matters of health and beauty. It can be all too easy for a young person to get the message that they aren't "good enough", and that their worth depends on them changing.
Although childhood obesity is undoubtedly an issue, an app that gets kids to track their food intake can lead to obsessive and disordered behaviors later in the future. It can be a slippery slope, one that has the potential to cause psychological harm in the long term.
So while some people might see this new app as a good thing (say, if they are struggling with helping their kids lose weight) there is also the another side of the coin to be considered.