Episode 14: Diet App for Kids Does More Harm Than Good
Diet App for Kids Does More Harm Than Good
WW recently acquired Kurbo, a weight loss/nutrition app for kids 8-13. Your child can start tracking everything she eats and get feedback on her choices using a red, yellow, green traffic light system. Red light foods include candy and soda.
Can you imagine an 8-year old needing to concern herself with this? Can you see where this will lead? The child may already feel bad about herself after being told by parents or a doctor that she needs to lose weight. Now she has to scrutinize everything she puts in her mouth... and she is EIGHT YEARS OLD!
This latest episode is my voice saying NO to the new Kurbo diet app for kids. I realize many parents mean well if they choose to use this for their kids but I'm here to say you can do this DIFFERENTLY! Please don't make it about weight, calories, and size for our kids. Please don’t demonize foods and make them think good food/bad food. This will only set them up for a lifetime of chronic dieting and potentially an eating disorder.
Here are some studies I mention in this episode with regard to children dieting listed on the National Eating Disorders Association website:
In a large study of 14– and 15-year-olds, dieting was the most important predictor of a developing eating disorder. Those who dieted moderately were 5x more likely to develop an eating disorder, and those who practiced extreme restriction were 18x more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who did not diet. - Golden, N. H., Schneider, M., & Wood, C. (2016). Preventing Obesity and Eating Disorders in Adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(3). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1649
62.3% of teenage girls and 28.8% of teenage boys report trying to lose weight. 58.6% of girls and 28.2% of boys are actively dieting. 68.4% of girls and 51% of boys exercise with the goal of losing weight or to avoid gaining weight. - The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. Food for Thought: Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) Columbia University; New York: 2003.
Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives. - Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2005). I’m, Like, SO Fat!.New York: Guilford.
35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. Overweight girls are more likely than normal weight girls to engage in such extreme dieting. - Boutelle, K., Neumark-Sztainer, D.,Story, M., &Resnick, M. (2002).Weight control behaviors among obese, overweight, and nonoverweight adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology,27, 531-540.
Neumark-Sztainer, D., &Hannan, P. (2001). Weight-related behaviors among adolescent girls and boys: A national survey. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 154, 569-577.
Wertheim, E., Paxton, S., &Blaney, S. (2009).Body image in girls.In L. Smolak & J. K. Thompson (Eds.), Body image, eating disorders, and obesity in youth: Assessment, prevention, and treatment (2nd ed.) (pp. 47-76). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge as girls who don’t diet. - Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2005). I’m, Like, SO Fat!.New York: Guilford.
Even among clearly non-overweight girls, over 1/3 report dieting. - Wertheim, E., Paxton, S., &Blaney, S. (2009).Body image in girls.In L. Smolak & J. K. Thompson (Eds.), Body image, eating disorders, and obesity in youth: Assessment, prevention, and treatment (2nd ed.) (pp. 47-76). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years. - Grodstein, F., Levine, R., Spencer, T., Colditz, G. A., &Stampfer, M. J. (1996). Three-year follow-up of participants in a commercial weight loss program: Can you keep it off? Archives of Internal Medicine 156(12), 1302.
Neumark-Sztainer D., Haines, J., Wall, M., & Eisenberg, M. ( 2007). Why does dieting predict weight gain in adolescents? Findings from project EAT-II: a 5-year longitudinal study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(3), 448-55
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