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WW App for kids and teens

SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Member Posts: 2,202 Member Member Posts: 2,202 Member
Weight Watchers has debuted an app for kids as young as 8 years old to promote "healthy eating", but also weight loss. There is obviously some controversy about this:

Do you think this is a good idea?

My opinion is that if a child or teen needs to lose weight, this should be monitored closely by their parents and doctor, not an app. I think it could lead to a very unhealthy relationship with food.


  • aokoyeaokoye Member Posts: 3,494 Member Member Posts: 3,494 Member
    This sounds like a really great way to nurture eating disorders and poor relationships with food in children and teens. In other words, a horrible idea.
  • TerythaTerytha Member Posts: 1,992 Member Member Posts: 1,992 Member
    I was in Weight Watchers regular at age 16. It wasn't so bad. Since fruits and veg are zero points it mostly felt like a way to reinforce eating fresh over eating cookies when hungry, which as an overweight teen with a sweet tooth, was to my benefit. Of course, I had both my mom and the people running the meetings and stuff keeping an eye on me.

    An app just sounds like a recipe for unhealthy relationships with food. Particularly for small kids who are very impressionable. An 8 year old only cares about their weight/food if an adult makes them feel like crap about it.

    Anyway. Forgive the ramble, my point was that it's not the worst for kids to do something like WW, but it should be limited to at least teens and not done through an app that isn't monitored.
  • SLL1803SLL1803 Member, Premium Posts: 30 Member Member, Premium Posts: 30 Member
    I think it's appalling. It's blatant profiteering, hooking children into diet culture, and promoting unhealthy and unsustainable ideas.
  • SLL1803SLL1803 Member, Premium Posts: 30 Member Member, Premium Posts: 30 Member
    Maybe they think it's "woo hoo", and agree emphatically?
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,295 Member Member Posts: 10,295 Member
    I think it's unfortunate there's a market for this in the first place.

    I also think Strava is a better app to put on your kids phone. It uses encouragement and positive reinforcement to encourage healthy habits.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,849 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,849 Member
    CSARdiver wrote: »
    I hear banks do the same so you can manage and monitor your finances, yet I've heard no controversy about obsessive spending habits.

    Banks don't develop apps for kids. If you gave an 8-year-old access to your online bank account, I bet you'd see some obsessive spending. The controversy is whether or not an app like this should be marketed to children and teens, who may not know how to use it in a healthy, responsible way.

    It's a complete aside, but there actually are banking apps for kids. But it's their money, not their parents' money, just like it's the kid's food in the WW app, not the parent's.

    I'm a skeptic about WW for kids, but not about the banking apps, so I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your underlying point.

    Credit cards for kids would maybe be more likely to cause 3rd parties worries about creating bad spending habits, I would guess . . . but it would only be a guess. The use of money budgeting as an analogy for calorie budgeting works fairly well, but breaks down at some points.
  • kimny72kimny72 Member Posts: 15,827 Member Member Posts: 15,827 Member
    Minors dieting at all can be problematic for a couple of reasons.

    First, it's perfectly normal for kids to go through chubby and skinny phases as they grow. Unless a child is obese, most pediatricians will advise parents to just try to keep them active and monitor over-snacking and see if their weight improves on its own.

    And even for a child who does have a weight problem, caution needs to be taken to ensure they don't develop an emotional link to controlling their diet. How many women started feeling like crap about their bodies and guilty about food in their preteen and teen years because they were either put on a diet themselves or watched their own mom obsess over her food and weight?

    I think if a pediatrician believes a child with a weight problem needs to learn to exhibit discipline in their eating, and the underlying issues are being dealt with, gamefying it with an app could be a positive. But too many parents don't understand weight loss or differences in a child's nutritional needs and weight fluctuations, and marketing to them and children directly does feel icky to me.

    I do want to come to the defense of traffic light eating though. It's actually an old concept, and simply suggests thinking about foods before eating. There are everyday foods, sometimes foods, and treat foods. Green light foods are a go - nutritious and not too calorie dense. Yellow light foods mean slow down and be mindful - these are foods that you need to be careful of portion size or eating too often. Red light foods mean stop and think - these are treat foods that are best eaten occasionally. It actually can be a good guideline for kids when presented the right way, I believe here the problem is with the presentation, not the concept itself.
    edited August 2019
  • pancakerunnerpancakerunner Member Posts: 6,044 Member Member Posts: 6,044 Member
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