@SmartFitGirls Co-Founder Chrissy Chard @has started a petition on Change.org to implore Weight Watchers to reconsider their new teen program.
“My name is Chrissy Chard, and I am the co-founder of a non-profit adolescent girls’ empowerment program called Smart Fit Girls, which aims to promote physical, mental and emotional health of adolescent girls. I have my PhD in Human Bioenergetics from the Health and Exercise Science Department at Colorado State University, and am currently an assistant professor with the Colorado School of Public Health. I am writing today to implore you to reconsider the Weight Watchers Teen program.
I am a prime example of the detrimental effects that your teen program will have on young women. At 16 years old, and at a completely “normal” body weight by BMI standards, I joined weight watchers. I quickly lost the recommended percentage of weight loss, achieving my goal weight and making me a “lifetime member”. Seventeen years later, I still remember the (healthy) weight I started at, and more importantly, my “goal weight” of 143 lbs. For over a decade after that, I struggled with disordered eating and a complete obsession with food. The time and energy I spent thinking about food and calories and “points” was lost, never to be spent doing things like innovating, creating, building, designing, LIVING…doing the things that young women are meant to do
As a researcher in the area of adolescent psychosocial health, I am all too familiar with the decades of research conducted that demonstrate both the physiological and (much more importantly) the psychological harm that dieting can have on adolescents. In a review paper on the effects of dieting specifically during adolescence, Daee et al. state “concerns about dieting include the possible association with cycles of weight loss and re-gain that increase the likelihood of developing eating disorders and obesity; decreased self-esteem and other psychologic issues; and potential increases in cardiovascular risk factors and mortality, both long-term and acute.”
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