Sen. Baldwin wants WW to remove dieting app targeting kids

Photo: Kurbo, Inc.
Photo: Kurbo, Inc.(NBC15)
Published: Oct. 4, 2019 at 11:28 AM CDT
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Weight Watchers' (WW) newest app to track weight loss in kids as young as eight-years-old, is drawing fire from Capitol Hill.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and her colleague, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote to WW to ask the company to pull Kurbo by WW.

Kurbo is designed to track food consumption, physical activity, and weight loss. In February 2018, WW drew some heat after it announced it would offer its weight-loss program for free to teens 13 to 17. In August 2019, WW rolled out Kurbo.

The app uses a traffic light system to classify foods. Veggies and fruits are green, meat and pasta are yellow, and candy and soda are red.

Baldwin said numerous pediatric specialists and eating disorder experts have raised concerns about the app because it focuses on weight-loss rather than nutrition which could put a child's mental and physical health at risk.

“Kurbo’s use of before-and-after photos, as well as the use of BMI and weight loss results tells children that they deserve to feel successful only if their BMI or weight drops, or if they look like the child Kurbo had featured, implying that their appearance and the number on the scale is more highly valued their health or character," said Baldwin and Blumenthal. "This emphasis on losing weight directly contrasts expert advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2016 that parents should steer their children clear of dieting and avoid specific discussions on weight.”

NBC15 reached out to WW and is awaiting a response from the company.

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