A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Once registered with KURBO HEALTH COACHING, kids enter their birthday and current height and weight, choose an avatar, and begin to enter their goals. Animated videos introduce the traffic light system and "success stories," and audio tracks offer relaxation techniques. Then kids begin to track the foods they eat by typing in the food and viewing whether it's categorized as green, yellow, or red (some have more than one color). Kids can see their progress as well as how many "red" foods they have left for the week. Kids also can play games, read tips and reminders, try new challenges, and set new goals each week.
Is it any good?
Though this app presents itself as a tool to help establish healthy lifestyle habits, its focus on weight loss and dieting take it in a potentially dangerous direction. Kurbo health coaching's recent partnership with WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers, one of the largest diet corporations), its "success" story videos showing kids who have lost weight, and its weight tracker make it clear that the focus is on dieting and weight loss. Although weight loss may be a crucial part of making healthier lifestyle choices, many experts strongly advise against dieting, especially for kids. The pay model also sets kids up early to be consumers in the large diet and "health" consumer industry. It might do better if it focused on education around what foods are "green," "yellow," or "red," and why, not only because understanding nutrition is important, but also because those labels can be confusing (for instance cheese is red, but cheese sticks are yellow). In addition, it could help families make better food choices together rather than putting the onus on the kid to choose or reject certain foods while everyone else in the family may be making different choices. Without an extra education piece, the traffic light may also prove too simplistic for kids. That is, some red foods can actually be nutritious despite having high levels of fat, like avocados. If you choose to use it, the best way may be as a guide to help the entire family make better eating choices. Parents can be in charge of the app, ignore the weight tracking, and use the food classification system as a jumping off point for more conversations about health and balance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Kurbo Health Coaching's focus on dieting and weight loss. If you are looking to help your kids make healthier lifestyle choices, make it clear that their health and happiness is the main goal. Aim to educate your family about how to make healthier choices for a lifetime instead of the weight trackers and focus on numbers.
Help kids succeed in their goals. Which foods in the green and yellow categories are favorites? Be sure to have a ready supply of those in your home. Which red foods make it difficult for your kid or teen to say no? Try to keep these foods out of the home most of the time.
Be supportive in fun ways, such as going for a bike ride or playing Wii Fit together. What other activities can you all do together that get you moving and having fun?
Find some healthy cookbooks that show how to make traditionally unhealthy foods healthier with a few ingredient changes and new baking or cooking methods. What are your favorite foods? What are some ways to make them even healthier?
Discuss the big business behind dieting and the health industry. Help your kids understand that making healthy choices is not dependent on buying a program, special foods, a book, an app, or anything else.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, part-whole relationships, thinking critically
Self-Direction: achieving goals, goal-setting, self-assessment, set objectives
Emotional Development: persevering, self-awareness
Health & Fitness: balanced diet, exercise, fitness
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free (Live coaching available within the app for $69/month, $189 for 3 months, or $294 for 6 months)
- Release date: August 22, 2019
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Size: 222.20 MB
- Publisher: Kurbo Health
- Version: 3.0.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.0 or later; Android varies with device
- Last updated: August 27, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.