Weight Watchers found itself in some heat on social media earlier this year for launching a new app to promote healthy eating among young children. But it was the right decision, says WW International CEO Mindy Grossman.
“If you look at the statistics, we certainly have an obesity epidemic around the world. What really hit me early on was a report that said a 2-year-old has a better chance of growing up to be obese and unhealthy than healthy,” Grossman said about the app rollout at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit on Thursday.
The Kurbo app was re-launched in August after WW acquired the company behind the Kurbo Health app for $3 million in 2018. Under WW’s leadership, the Kurbo app now focuses on the eating habits of 7- to 8-year-old children by tracking their habits. It also offers meditation tutorials, professional counseling, fitness tracking and other nutrition centric aspects. The re-launch lit a fire among many parents who believed the app goes too far to push weight loss for children.
But to Grossman’s point, the stats on childhood obesity (and obesity more broadly) suggest something needs to be done ASAP. Nearly one in five children in America are characterized as obese, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
“It has been successful,” said Grossman of the uproar. “Look, anytime you are going to do something that is first or different you are going to have loud factions. But just like everything we do, nothing is done without the science behind it. Nothing is done without quant research. And nothing is done that won’t be sustainable and have a positive impact on youth and families which it does. It’s definitely a part of our ecosystem moving forward.”