Parents are calling for a boycott against the weight loss company Weight Watchers after learning that they were aiming its new app at children. Over 78,000 people have signed the petition online calling for the diet program to remove the app.
More than 78,000 people have signed a petition online calling on WW, formerly Weight Watchers, to remove its new app aimed at children ages 8 to 17.
The app, named Kurbo by WW, claims it’s “designed to help kids and teens … reach a healthier weight,” according to a statement released by WW. Using the Traffic Light System, which divides foods into red, yellow and green groups, Kurbo attempts to steer children toward eating more “green light” foods like fruits and vegetables.
The free app also offers 1:1 coaching for a fee and lets kids track their food and their behaviors around food. Further, it gives them access to recipe videos and healthy eating, and living-focused games, according to WW.
Despite the good intentions, the app has drawn criticism from some parents and nutritionists who fear the app is too geared to weight loss and could hurt kids’ relationship with food.
“The story that you are hearing over and over again is all of us who started struggling at the age that this app is targeted for saying it was already bad enough without an app,” said Holly Stallcup, the woman who started the Change.org petition and who says she is in recovery from an eating disorder.
“If we had had this app in our hands to literally log every bite of food to eat, we know that some of us would have actually died from our diseases because it would have so enabled our unhealthy, mentally ill thinking.”