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The ‘Kurbo’ app by Weight Watchers targeting kids is sparking controversy

WAUSAU Wis. (WAOW) — A new app has hit the market, specifically targeting kids ages 8-17.

The app is called Kurbo by Weight Watchers (WW) and is aimed to help kids reach a healthier weight with food logging and a method called the ‘traffic light system,” which focuses on “green, yellow and red” foods.

Dr. Gary Foster the chief scientist for WW said, “green foods are foods that the USDA dietary guidelines says children and families should eat more of, yellow foods in moderation, and red foods should be eaten fewer times per day.”

According to health officials, 1 in 5 kids in the US are considered overweight. The American Academy of Pediatrics has advised in the past that when we talk about health to our kids, to leave the word “weight” out of the equation.

“You don’t want to shame your children into anything but certainly we all see children that are overweight,” said Dr. Larry Gordon at the Aspirus-Weston Clinic.

However, this new app isn’t sitting well with some adults.

“If you already have kids that don’t already like vegetables to begin with, an app’s not going to help. It’s just going to add, I think more fuel to the fire,” said Joseph Napierala of Wausau

Since the app has been released, thousands have signed a petition on asking WW to take it down. Those who signed the petition said the app could lead to eating disorders. But Weight Watchers said programs and apps such as Kurbo won’t cause eating disorders and that the goal of the app is not weight loss.

One Wisconsin doctor says the app may not be a bad idea. “Kids nowadays are in tune with apps, so maybe reaching them that way in terms of that concept is not bad,” said Dr. Gordon.

The app also offers breathing exercises and success stories, some even showing before and after photos of children, also drawing controversy.


Chris Watkins

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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