Obesity

New children's weight-loss app draws Twitter backlash

 Kurbo Founder and CEO Joanna Strober speaks onstage during The New York Times Health For Tomorrow Conference at Mission Bay Conference Center at UCSF on May 29, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
Kurbo founder and CEO Joanna Strober onstage during the New York Times Health For Tomorrow Conference on May 29, 2014 in San Francisco, California. WW bought the app in 2018. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for New York Times

Newly released weight-loss app Kurbo by WW is drawing strong criticism for its focus on youth weight, rather than overall health.

Why it matters: Body activists and members of the medical community responded to the announcement on Twitter, claiming the app could cause children to develop obsessive or unhealthy relationships with food and eating disorders. Now, a petition is calling for the free app to be taken down, describing Kurbo as "dangerous, irresponsible and immoral."

Expert Voices

Health of immigrants at risk in changes to public assistance policies

doctor evaluating patient in an exam room
A patient visits a clinic in Solana Beach, Calif., that serves a large immigrant population. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images

The Trump administration's recently finalized “public charge” rule — which would make use of certain public assistance programs by immigrants grounds for denying lawful permanent residence — extends a series of policy changes that could negatively affect the health of both legal and undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Why it matters: Health insurance, nutrition benefits and housing assistance are all linked to health outcomes, particularly in children. Although the 46 million immigrants in the U.S. are generally healthier and use fewer health resources than native-born residents, additional barriers to care could increase rates of obesity, malnutrition and transmission of communicable diseases.