Empowering kids to make healthy choices: There’s an app for that

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about how the British government in the UK is offering families a free smartphone app to help them visualize how much sugar is actually in certain foods.

Well, now families in the US can “go mobile” too.

In fact, this new free app, called “Kurbo,” is aimed specifically at helping children and teenagers eat healthier and exercise more.

It involves a “traffic light” food grading system. Which, to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of. Unfortunately, these types of systems are usually heavily influenced by mainstream ideas of what constitutes a “healthy” food. And we both know how frequently they miss the mark.

But, Kurbo also has an online coaching feature that checks in with kids every day to see how they are doing. And it offers texts and emails that can help guide kids towards making better choices, such as choosing strawberries over a pop-tart.

And let’s face it…sometimes kids will listen to a stranger telling them what to do, even if their mom or dad has told them the same thing 1,000 times. So, to that extent, this app helps empower kids to make their own choices.

But as encouraging as a tool like this is, childhood obesity is a complex problem. And one that won’t be solved overnight. Or with a single smartphone app.

And as I’ve said many times before, if we’re ever going to make any real, lasting changes to our kids’ health, parents need to lead by example — first and foremost.