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Kurbo combines a simple food guide with personal coaching to help kids lose weight.
It’s hard to go more than 30 seconds in the App Store without seeing a calorie counting tool, weight loss coach, or seven-minute workout app. These apps are designed to be used by adults and aren’t recommended for use by children for obvious reasons, but should such an app even exist in the first place?
Kurbo Health thinks so. The company has come up with a weight loss app designed for kids ages eight to 18 that focuses on good food choices and overall activity rather than calorie counting and specific workouts. The idea being that young people shouldn’t be worried about things like tallying calories, and should instead focus on building good eating habits in a broader sense.
Kurbo’s system is based on a traffic light-esque category system where green foods like fresh fruits and vegetables are the best and red foods like high-calorie snacks and candies are to be avoided. This is combined with a personalized coaching program that ranges anywhere from one week (for $20) to three months (for $180), and provides one-on-one guidance.
All things considered, the Kurbo program is simple and straightforward, and according to testimonials—which Kurbo is all about promoting—the app seems to be effective if used as intended. Kurbo reports an 85 percent success rate, where success is defined as a reduction in a child’s BMI and weight loss is maintained.
Weight loss products aimed at kids don’t have a particularly solid track record, and that’s may be due to the idea that kids should be allowed to be kids. Unfortunately this sometimes means all-night ice cream binges and finishing off an entire bag of Doritos in one sitting. It’s those types of habits that have contributed to a childhood obesity which has more than doubled in the past few decades, and that’s something that certainly needs to change.
Is it odd to think that a child as young as eight years old might have to worry about their weight? Perhaps, but isn’t it equally odd to think that—even with a good amount of parental guidance—kids will avoid the temptations that even many adults fall victim to? If something as simple as an app and a few months of professional coaching can set good habits in motion for a lifetime, it might not be as crazy as it sounds.
Mike Wehner is a former tech editor for the Daily Dot who now writes for BGR. His work has appeared everywhere from Yahoo to CNN, and there’s a good chance his Apple Watch is dead right now.