Weight Watchers Is Offering Teens Free Membership And The Internet Is Pissed


People think the move could encourage disordered eating and are
using #WakeUpWeightWatchers to show their concern and outrage.

Posted on February 14, 2018, 00:06 GMT

According to Dr. Eve
Freidl at the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and
Related Disorders in NYC, dieting in general is definitely a
risk behavior for developing an eating disorder.

“The reality is there are many, many people that diet who don’t
develop an eating disorder,” Freidl says. “However, it
certainly is a risk behavior for developing an eating disorder,
and both anorexia and bulimia do tend to develop during the
window of someone’s teenage years.”

The concern here is that Weight Watchers is going to be
introduced at a point during kids’ lives where they may be
vulnerable to dieting when they shouldn’t be, she explains.
Teenage years are a critical period for growth, and serious
weight loss could affect important things like bone development
and hormone levels, which will impact overall maturation, she

“Teenagers are supposed to be growing and getting bigger, and
their brains just aren’t fully developed yet — the part of the
brain that is more involved in the emotional world is
developing faster than the part of the brain that is really
good at long-term planning and decision making,” she says. “So
while Weight Watchers is suggesting that this might be a good
time to implement healthy behavioral strategies, I think saying
that without data and research, as to the most responsible way
to do it, can be dangerous.”

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Weight Watchers for

If you struggle with an eating disorder or just need to talk
to someone, you can call NEDA, the National
Eating Disorders Association, at 1-800-931-2237 and or
texting NEDA to 74174, the Crisis Text Line. And if you’re
located in the UK, you can call UK ABC, the Anorexia and Bulimia Care
charity, at 03000 11 12 13.

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