Today… I am extremely disappointed. Disappointed in our society. Disappointed in the diet-culture that this world has come to know all to well. Disappointed in the media for expanding + promoting this very toxic idea that everyone’s bodies should look a certain way, weigh a certain amount, & carry the perfect amount of “extra” fluff in specific parts of the body to produce the “perfect” curves.
How disgusting, honestly.
Yesterday, Weight Watchers launched an app FOR KIDS!!!! Yep… you read that right.
Kurbo by WW is a nutrition + weight-loss app that targets an audience between the ages of 8(!?!?) & 17. This is absolutely RIDICULOUS, you guys!!
The app shows three categories for foods:
Green = good “HEALTHY” foods that are okay to eat plenty of (ie. fruits + veggies).
Yellow = foods in this category are to be eaten in moderation (ie. lean proteins + whole grains) — *eye roll*
Red = “bad” foods that should be limited & eaten less frequently (sodas, sweets, fries, burgers, etc.)
Labeling foods as “bad” can cause so much panic + anxiety in adults, so just imagine what it does to kids!
And the labeling isn’t even the worst part of the app.. IT ALSO HAS KIDS TRACK THEIR FOOD!! Like… what??? There’s PLENTY of evidence that shows how tracking food can lead to disordered eating in adults. So, again, just imagine the detrimental toll it will take on a child/adolescent’s mind.
Children & adolescents enrolled in this program are available to meetings with “expert” coaches through video chat to talk about the individual’s fitness, nutrition, & mental health. But NONE of these coaches are registered dietitians, licensed professional counselors, OR certified personal trainers. So… what exactly makes them experts?!?!? I can answer that….. absolutely NOTHING!
Childhood weight loss efforts, if not done correctly (is there even a correct way to go about it??), can lead to or worsen disordered eating & body image issues. Pediatric doctors have even ADVISED families to STAY AWAY from weight talk & instead try to promote healthy lifestyles.
I am DEEPLY disgusted + disappointed in WW for trying to expand their diet-promoting brand by reeling in children & teens.
Kids already have it hard enough. They already feel pressure to “do good/be good” from so many other areas including academics, friendships, etc.
PLUS, many children & adolescents haven’t even gone through, or are currently going through, puberty. Their bodies are STILL changing + growing. They NEED that extra fuel. They shouldn’t have to worry about eating “too much” or “too unhealthy”. What parent’s SHOULD be worried about is making sure their children are eating ENOUGH of the nutrients that their bodies NEED in order to properly function + grow + transform into a well-nourished vessel — one that we NEED in order to live a happy + healthy life.
And, I’m no expert, but I’ve done enough research + learned enough throughout my ED treatment to know that dieting + restricting creates a major imbalance in one’s metabolic rate. This then usually leads to the individual gaining back all the weight PLUS some after they stop dieting/restricting.
Want to know what the number ONE predictor of the development of an eating disorder is??? DIETING.
Parents, if you are promoting diet culture to your children… why?? Are you REALLY concerned about your child’s health? Or are you actually just concerned about your child’s body SIZE?
I understand that kids are mean + there are other children out there who may bully your kid about their body size, but that just goes to show how fat-phobic our world is. Maybe instead of teaching your children that, “fat = bad” & “thin = good”, show them that ALL body sizes + shapes are GOOD & acceptable & are worthy of being loved + taken care of.
I’m not saying parents should just let their children eat whatever & however much they want & I’m not promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. But if we want to encourage children to live in a way that is physically + mentally healthy, the best things we (parents/guardians/babysitters/older siblings) can do, according to Registered Dietitian Emily Murray, is offer a variety of food choices (of all kinds), encourage exercise + body movement, eat meals together as a family/group, promote body respect + POSITIVE self-talk, & model healthy eating behaviors + body image attitudes.
And if you REALLY are concerned about your child’s relationship with food/health.. make an appointment with a REAL expert!
Indicating that a child’s body is “bad” or “wrong” is so shaming + detrimental to the child’s mental health. You don’t want to be the reason your child struggles with a negative self-image or eating disorder, do you?
Check in on your OWN self-image/dieting beliefs that you have internalized. You reflect what you believe. And children learn most from their parents. So before you criticize your own body/eating habits/self-image, think about WHO is listening + watching. Think about THEIR future & how you want them to think + believe + talk about themselves. Stop supporting diet culture, throw away your fat-phobic thoughts + beliefs. Start accepting EVERY body in EVERY size + shape. Understand that ALL bodies are GOOD bodies. Every body type deserves to be loved + nourished + treated with respect. Everyone deserves to take up space in this world, no matter how much space it is.
So, Weight Watchers, shame on you. Shame on you for continuing to support diet-culture. Shame on you for trying to make weight loss trendy for children (AS YOUNG AS 8!!!). Shame on you for trying to snag new customers when they’re young — just to make more money for your already multi-million dollar corporation. No matter how much y’all try to act as though y’all are in it for our “health”, it’s obvious that y’all only care about the money. You suck, Weight Watchers — SHAME. ON YOU!!