Weight Watchers International is being slammed by experts for its new plans to offer free memberships to teenagers in a bid to tackle obesity.
Parents will need to give consent for their children to participate in the programme, which will initially only be available in the US. It’s believe it will be rolled out globally at a later date.
However many experts say encouraging children to restrict calories and count points may lead to disordered eating.
Accredited Dietitian Melanie McGrice said while there was a great need for young people to be able to access nutritional advice. It’s important it’s supportive of a healthy balances lifestyle.
“I think that it’s great it’s making is accessible for all people, but I think we need to be careful as to how the advice is given. Particularly with children and teenagers.
“I do think there is a big need, there is escalating issues with childhood obesity. I can sort of see why they are doing it. But I think that advice needs to be coming from accredited dietitian and exercise physiologists.”
She said it depends what they are teaching adolescents – if the company guided young people to restrict their eating, it could lead them down the pathway to eating disorders.
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