The people on the internet is divided yet again because of another controversy. This time, it does not involve politics, but it is about a free membership that was granted for teenagers by Weight Watchers.
Some people believe that this is a good thing, one of their reasons is because it would help teenagers be wise about their food choices and lifestyle at such an early age. However, some experts and most people have strongly disagreed, continue reading to find out why.
Weight Watchers Take On Teens
For those who don’t know, Weight Watchers is actually a company based in the United States who are producing products and services that promotes and assists weight loss. They also have membership plans where you could get cookbooks, DVDs, exercise pieces of equipment and more. Weight Watchers’ current spokesperson is the Queen of Talk herself, Oprah Winfrey, who just last year launched microwaveable meals.
This month, they have reached out to the youngsters and offered free membership to teenagers for this summer. This is considered to be a marketing strategy since most teenagers are using social media and it is basically the best place to advertise since almost everyone is in it. The company said that they simply want to help “the development of healthy habits at a critical life stage”, during a press release last week.
This membership plan would then require teenagers ages 13-17 to come to meetings with their parents or guardian, teenagers will of course not be given membership without consent. They also said that they are simply doing this to be able to make an impact on the health problems that are not being addressed effectively.
Some people like the fact that Weight Watchers have opened their memberships for teenagers, some of them believes that it would help teens make good choices at an early age especially with all the unhealthy fast food chains and ultra-processed foods taking over.
Criticisms On Weight Watchers Teen Memberships
However, not everyone like this idea, in fact, it seems like there are more people who are against it than those who like it. Some people do not agree that teenagers must consider being on Weight Watchers because it simply develops unhealthy habits and body image that could lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, which has gene a huge problem when it comes to teens for the past couple of years. Social media has definitely changed how teenagers see themselves physically.
Unfortunately, some of them struggle with their confidence in their body image because they would be ‘fat-shamed’ or being ridiculed because of being overweight. Mental health experts believe that Weight Watchers are simply encouraging teens that it is important to lose weight so that they could be good enough for the eyes of the society, whereas teens should believe that it’s not supposed to matter what you look like.
The National Eating Disorders Association together with some other mental health experts released a statement saying that it is indeed very concerning when the news of Weight Watchers taking in teens.
This is because according to their data, more than 35 percent of people who are trying to lose weight on a normal diet, end up developing eating disorders and teens are extremely vulnerable at this age.
According to the National Eating Disorders Associations’ spokesperson, there are thousands of teenage boys and girls who are trying so hard to lose weight by smoking, using laxatives, and worse is starving themselves just to be able to achieve an unrealistic body ideal that the media have put on their minds.
She also mentioned how their organization hopes that Weight Watchers would acknowledge the dangers and the risks of early signs of eating disorders.
A clinical nutritionist from Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, Tomi Akanbi, says that teenagers need a certain amount of food and nutrition on their diet because they are still growing and they need as much nutrition as they could get.
Which is why Weight-Loss plans are not exactly the best way to promote good health for them. So technically, teenagers are not encouraged to lose weight unless they are obese and are at risk of health dangers because of their weight.
Teens who are most likely want to become a member of Weight Watchers, are those who simply want to achieve a “perfect body” so they could look like their favorite models and celebrities and that is not exactly healthy, he added.