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Wednesday
Aug212019

Experts offer new recommendations for screening more women for breast cancer

praetorianphoto/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Annually, about 247,200 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. and nearly 42,000 people die each year from breast cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Besides certain types of skin cancer, more women are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other cancer in the U.S., regardless of race or ethnicity.

The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine which most doctors follow, has expanded its recommendations for screening for BRCA1 and 2 gene mutations, "some of the most common gene mutations seen in inherited breast cancers," Dr. Banu Arun, professor of Breast Medical Oncology and co-director of Clinical Cancer Genetics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, told ABC News' Good Morning America in an interview.

Before Tuesday, women with a family history of certain types of cancer were encouraged to have additional screenings for a risk assessment that may predispose them to being diagnosed with breast cancer. The updated recommendations now also looks at the woman’s personal medical history and will encourage additional risk assessment if she has concerning risk factors herself.

Women who have "had breast, ovarian, tubal, or peritoneal cancer and have not been tested or who have ancestors associated with BRCA1/2 gene mutations" should also be assessed for risk, Dr. Carol Mangione, task force member and professor of medicine and public health at UCLA, told GMA.

There are several quick risk assessment tools that health care providers can use. If it is positive, the USPSTF recommends "genetic counseling and, if indicated after counseling, genetic testing."

"We do not recommend routine assessment of people who do not have a personal or family history or ancestral connection," Dr. Mangione said. "The harms of doing so outweigh the risks."

If doctors "implement these recommendations in their routine clinical practices it will increase patient and provider awareness. More patients will be tested and we will miss less," said Dr. Arun.

Dr. Arun recommends, "Knowing your family history, living a healthy lifestyle, engaging in physical activity, and having proper weight control" to help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer.

However, the new recommendations, do not "address many persistent problems," according to Dr. Susan Domcheck, executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who released an editorial published in JAMA. The changes are "certainly valuable," she commented in a Penn Medicine news release, but "they do not include newly diagnosed breast or ovarian cancer patients or advanced cancer patients in its recommendations."

Dr. Domcheck and the USPSTF indicate the need for additional research regarding BRCA mutations and risk factors, including the effect of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Aug212019

Breastfeeding basics: All of your questions answered

kate_sept2004/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Breastfeeding has proven health benefits for mom and baby.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about six months of life when possible. Breast milk is the perfect source of nutrition and contains mom-made infection-fighting agents that protect babies against infection. At six months, the AAP recommends continued breastfeeding for one year or longer as complementary solid foods are introduced.

But learning how to breastfeed can be an extremely frustrating process for moms. Getting the basics right can set you, and your baby, up for breastfeeding success.

Here's what you need to know:

1. How to tell if your baby is hungry

One of the first ways your baby communicates with you is by displaying “hunger cues." We all know that a crying baby may be hungry, but if you pay attention you can pick up on more subtle “hunger cues” before they start bawling.

When a baby smacks his or her lips, sticks the tongue out, brings fists to mouth and turns their head side to side they are letting you know that they are ready to be fed.

2. Prep

Especially when just starting to breastfeed it's important that your environment is calm, quiet and comfortable. You should be in a space where you feel comfortable.

Your seat should have good back support and any support pillows you plan to use should be within arm's reach.

Sometimes babies get too cozy when breastfeeding and start to drift off to sleep after a minute or two feeding. To prevent your baby from getting "milk drunk" and falling off the breast too early, you can strip them down to their diaper before a feed.

If your baby is in the middle of a crying fit, try to comfort them and calm them down before you attempt to feed.

3. Take a cuddle break

Hold your baby skin to skin between your breasts. Skin to skin contact is a wonderful way to bond with your baby and who doesn’t love a cuddle? But it also helps promote milk production.

Once your baby is situated on your chest, observe him or her. Is your baby's head bobbing? Is you baby showing other hunger cues on your chest? If so, great!

Time to master the hold.

4. Breastfeeding holds

These are two of the tried and tested favorite breastfeeding holds of moms everywhere:

Cross-cradle hold

This hold is an excellent starting point for new moms and a great way to support your baby’s latch.

Hold baby's head at your right breast and baby's body toward your left side. Baby’s tummy should be nestled up against yours. Your left hand should be behind your baby's ears and neck with your forearm supporting your babies back. A pillow can be placed underneath the left arm to support mom’s arm. Hold your right breast with your right hand as if you are squeezing a sandwich and direct the nipple toward the baby’s mouth to help the latch.

Clutch or 'football' hold

This hold is ideal for those recovering from a C-section or have a larger chest as it keeps the baby's weight off your belly.

Cradle baby by your right side, level with your waist. Support your baby’s head with your right hand, baby’s mouth facing toward the front of the right breast and near the nipple. Baby’s back will rest on your forearm -- think Tom Brady clutching a football under his arm.

A pillow underneath the right arm can help support the baby’s weight and prevent arm aches.

Use your left hand to cup right breast so you help direct nipple to baby’s mouth and support latch.

5. All about the latch

Ah, the latch. This can be the toughest hurdle breastfeeding moms need to overcome. The main thing we want to see is baby’s mouth open wide, tongue over bottom gum and as you bring them toward breast for their chin to be the first thing that makes contact with your breast when baby is latching on.

You can encourage the baby’s mouth to open wide by brushing the nipple gently against the baby’s upper lip.

For new moms it can be hard to get a sense of how much nipple and areola (the pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple), a baby should take into their mouth when latching on. It's helpful to remember that when breastfeeding your nipple should be positioned against the roof and toward the back of the baby's mouth. They should have a good portion of areola in their mouth.

6. Still having trouble?

If you continue to have trouble breastfeeding, you can always reach out to your doctor or a lactation consultant.

Three of the most common breastfeeding problems encountered by new moms are pain, difficulty latching and milk production.

Problem 1: Breastfeeding hurts!

The most common cause of breastfeeding pain is that your baby is not latching correctly.

Another common cause of pain is nipple soreness. To combat nipple soreness after breastfeeding, wipe damaged nipples gently with moist cotton wool to remove any debris and then let nipples air dry. This helps to prevent infection. Once the nipples are dry, a lanolin cream or a few drops of breast milk can be applied on the nipples. Cooling packs also can provide comfort.

Another tip: Breast shells can also be worn to prevent sore nipples chaffing against clothing between feedings.

Problem 2: My baby still isn't latching correctly.

There are lots of different reasons your baby may not be latching correctly.

Frequently when moms complain of poor latching, they are describing nipple feeding. This is where a baby is just sucking on the tip of the nipple at the front of their mouth and not taking enough nipple and areola into their mouth.

If baby gets too fussy or too tired, he or she will not cooperate with your best efforts to feed them. The best time to feed baby is when they are quiet with their eyes open.

Around 10% of women have inverted nipples. This isn’t a problem for most babies, but some can have difficulty. You can wear nipple formers in between feeds to help inverted nipple protrude more, making it easier for baby to feed.

Problem 3: I don't think I'm making enough milk?


The most important advice we can give a mom struggling to produce enough milk is that you need to take care of yourself first.

Two weeks after the baby is born, your only job should be to rest, eat and feed baby. Enlist you partner, family and friends to help around the house. Holding baby skin to skin can also help with milk supply. If you need to be at work and are pumping, keeping a picture of baby with you along with a scent cloth can help milk production.

It’s good to keep in mind that when a baby is first born their stomach is only the size of a marble. The first milk you produce, called colostrum, is designed to provide adequate nutrition. It's so nutritious it’s nicknamed “liquid gold" and a little goes a long way.

7. How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?

The best way to assess if a baby is getting enough milk is by closely tracking their weight gain with their pediatrician.

However, if your baby is making less than six wet diapers a day, it may be a sign they may be not receiving enough milk and may need to be seen by a doctor.

8. What if this doesn’t work for me and my baby?

Don’t panic, there is help out there.

There can be many, many reasons that breastfeeding doesn’t work out or that a mother will decide that it isn’t the right choice for her family.

Not breastfeeding your baby means nothing about you as a mother or the bond you share with your baby.

You can also always contact your baby’s doctor or seek help from a lactation consultant.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Aug212019

Women affected by hair loss turn to 'toppers' to find their confidence again

Cindy Dwyer(NEW YORK) -- Cindy Dwyer, was diagnosed with stage three brain cancer in 2013, and underwent surgery, 35 days of radiation and a year of chemotherapy. After upending her life and battling her illness, Dwyer, now 57 years old, made a full recovery -- except for a patch on her head where the tumor was removed.

Her doctor told her that the hair follicles were burned, but after months of waiting, Dwyer came to terms with the fact that her hair wasn’t coming back.

She said she started looking around for something that would make her love her hair again.

"I was searching for a hair piece that would work for me," Dwyer told ABC News' Good Morning America, noting she finally found a line of hair pieces or "toppers" crafted from human hair from a brand called the Lauren Ashtyn Collection. "When the topper was placed on my head I looked in the mirror, and I was filled with joy. I felt whole again. It was one of the best days of my life.”

Many think that only men have to worry about hair loss, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, more than 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss. Female-pattern hair loss (FPHL) affects approximately 30 million women in the U.S., the Cleveland Clinic reports, and women over 40, women who just gave birth and women undergoing chemotherapy are among those most commonly affected.

For women experiencing hair loss, the impact that a hair piece can have on their lives goes beyond the superficial.

In addition to giving women their confidence back, they can also help women who need to keep up a certain appearance for their job.

One such woman is Jackie Kostek.

Kostek, a reporter based in Chicago who appears on segments of You and Me, a local morning talk show, said she started noticing that her hair was thinning about four years ago.

“One day I came home, put my hair in a ponytail, when I looked into the mirror I was shocked. It dawned on me that my hair was getting thinner,” Kostek recalled.

Then she started seeing more of her hair in the bathroom sink, and less of it on her head.

“For about six months, I cried every single day,” she said. “I wondered if a man would ever find me attractive again, or if I’d be able to fulfill my lifelong dream of working in television—being an on-air reporter and anchor.”

After doing some research, she realized that her hair was likely falling out due to stress and genetics.

She tried a bunch of remedies for about seven months, to no avail. But then she started researching extensions and turned to a hair piece.

Kostek shared her hair loss journey in a segment with her viewers as she reached out to the Lauren Ashtyn Collection see if they’d be willing to help her. The result was an on-air segment of Kostek trying on a topper for the first time, and having it trimmed to match her haircut.

The Lauren Ashtyn Collection uses human hair and matches the color and style to each client, the company told GMA. It began as a company that catered to hair extensions for women, but has expanded its offerings to provide clip-in toppers for women with mild to severe hair loss.

There are many hair loss treatments on the market today, including Rogaine, Aldactone and iron supplements.

In addition to the Lauren Ashytn Collection, whose pieces retail from $450 to $900 on average, brands such as Uniwigs, Headcovers, and Wigs.com all provide hair pieces for women who experience balding or hair loss.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Aug212019

How to find the right sports bra for your body

mediaphotos/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Melanie Yvette Martin is a 31-year-old blogger who works out out three times a week, doing everything from running to kickboxing, spin and dance classes.

And three times a week, Martin, of Brooklyn, New York, encounters the same problem of having to wear an uncomfortable or unflattering sports bra.

"My biggest issue is always support and feeling like I look good in them, enough to only wear a sports bra to the gym and not a big, bulky T-shirt," she told ABC News' Good Morning America. "And there is lots of movement in my classes, so it would hurt my chest, and sometimes my bra's strips dig into my skin and taking the bras off is always annoying."

Martin, a DD cup size, is not alone in needing a sports bra to work out but not having the right one for her body, according to Lexie Sachs, associate director of the Textiles, Paper and Plastics Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

"A sports bra should not be any type of hindrance to your workout or cause physical discomfort," she told GMA. "If anything, a sports bra should be kind of a fueling power to a good workout. It should not get in the way."

Sachs and her team of textile experts at Good Housekeeping have led the way in evaluating dozens of sports bras, including having real women ranging from A through H cup sizes test them out during workouts.

"I would say the biggest mistake comes down to not thinking about your own size and activity level, or getting stuck in your head what you think you should be buying in a sports bra," Sachs said. "It's kind of life-changing [when women] realize a sports bra does exist for their size that makes them feel good and look good."

Here are Sachs' four tips for shopping for a sports bra.

1. Try on different sizes: The size you wear in a regular bra may not be the size you need in a sports bra, and sizes vary widely from brand to brand, so make sure to try on options instead of just grabbing your normal size, recommends Sachs. Once you've purchased a sports bra, check in at least twice a year to make sure it's still giving you the support you need.

2. Check the bust and band: Any gaping or loose fabric in the bust area can be a sign a bra is too big, while spillage is a sign the bra is too small. The back band of a sports bra should sit flat against your back, making the bra fit snugly but not too tight, according to Sachs. If the band rides high on your back, it's a sign the bra is the wrong fit.

3. Give it a fitting room trial: If you are using the bra for high-impact workouts, do a few jumping jacks in the dressing room or jog in place to check the support. If you are going for more low-impact, do some quick yoga moves in the bra to make sure it does not constrict you, recommends Sachs.

4. Do a quick water test: Not all sports bras are as moisture-wicking as they claim to be according to Sachs. She recommends doing a quick test by placing a drop of water on the fabric. If the water quickly spreads out, that's a good sign. If the water beads up, that's a sign the bra is not moisture-wicking.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug202019

Florida man arrested for having Trump-shaped ecstasy pills

Pinellas County Sheriffs Office(CLEARWATER, Fla.) -- A Florida man was arrested after he was caught with five ecstasy pills that were the color orange and in the shape of President Trump's face, police said.

Brendan Dolan-King, 23, had the ecstasy pills hidden inside his air vent at his home in the city of Clearwater, according to an arrest report from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

They were labeled “Trump NL," according to the report.

A spokesman for the Clearwater Police Department told ABC News that officers occasionally find ecstasy pills in different shapes, including ones featuring a Batman or Superman logo.

However, he added, “we have not seen one in this shape before.”

Police also allegedly found a tan powder in the air vents that was later positively identified as fentanyl through lab testing.

The testing also confirmed that the Trump-shaped tablets were MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, according to police.

Police were responding to a call about an overdose Friday night when they made the discovery, according to the report.

Dolan-King was a resident of the home where the overdose happened, the report said.

He was charged with possession of a controlled substance. It was not immediately clear if Dolan-King had legal representation.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug202019

New measles numbers show the disease continues to spread but at slightly slower pace

Hailshadow/iStock(ATLANTA) -- The number of measles cases continues to grow, though at a slightly less rapid pace than was recorded earlier in the year.

The Centers for Disease Control announced Monday that there were 21 new cases of measles in the most recent recorded week, bringing the total number to 1,203 confirmed cases.

In early May, there were 60 new cases in a week, and in late April, that number jumped to 78 cases in one week. There were 71 new cases the week before that. The numbers through May 17 showed an increase of 41 cases from the prior report.

The number of cases this year already reached the highest number since measles was declared eliminated in the country in 2000.

The 1,203 figure also means it is the greatest number of measles cases in the U.S. since 1992, according to the CDC. There are now 30 states that have confirmed cases, with recent additions including Ohio and Alaska.

There are six ongoing outbreaks, where three or more cases are in effect, which is down from higher numbers earlier this year.

The outbreaks still remain in New York's Rockland and Wyoming Counties, New York City, Washington state, Los Angeles County in California, and El Paso, Texas.

More than three quarters of the cases were linked to outbreaks in New York, the CDC reported. Those outbreaks, including the ones in Rockland County and New York City, started in 2018 and carried through to the present.

According to the Rockland County health department website, the outbreak there was tied to 296 cases, and in New York City there have been 653 confirmed cases, the city's health website states.

The CDC reported that of the 1,203 confirmed cases, 124 people were hospitalized and 64 people reported having complications that included pneumonia and encephalitis.

The majority of cases were reported to have infected people who had not been vaccinated against the disease.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug202019

Parents want to regain custody of 4-year-old son with cancer after stopping his chemo

ABC News(HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.) -- A couple from Florida is fighting to regain custody of their son after they chose alternative methods to treat his tumor.

Noah McAdams was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia earlier this year. The 4-year-old's parents, Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball, stopped chemotherapy two days into treatment.

Instead, McAdams and Bland-Ball turned to medical marijuana and CBD oil -- the increasingly popular cannabis extract that's sold over the counter.

"He had vicious mood swings, making him violent, making him very emotional, and he also started to lose his hair right away after the first treatment," Bland-Ball said of her son in an interview with Good Morning America.

McAdams and Bland-Ball took Noah to Kentucky where they sought a second opinion. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office had asked for the public's help to locate the family after McAdams and Bland-Ball failed to bring Noah to the hospital for a medically necessary procedure on April 22.

"The parents have further refused to follow up with the life saving medical care the child needs," the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook. "The parents have possible criminal child neglect charges pending."

The parents were found one week later and the state of Florida placed Noah in the custody of his grandparents, who were ordered in May to resume chemotherapy.

An official with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office told GMA that the office would not comment on an active case.

Now, McAdams and Bland-Ball are back in court fighting to get their son back.

"This is not about whether we're choosing alternative therapies, natural therapies. This is about our rights to seek other options," Bland-Ball said.

"They're saying that this child is in immediate danger when the fact that there is no cancer showing in his blood and there is no indication that at any point in time, that any cancer is going to come back in his body," Michael Minardi, McAdams' and Bland-Ball's former attorney, told GMA in May following the judge's ruling for Noah to resume chemo.

Dr. Bijal D. Shah, head of the Moffitt Cancer Center's acute lymphoblastic leukemia program, said blood tests don't show the full picture.

"We have no way of saying that he is cured of leukemia this early in therapy," Shah, who is not treating Noah, told GMA. "We cannot assume cure because we see remission."

Shah said the current protocol for treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia has a 90 percent cure rate for patients who follow the treatment plan.

St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital confirmed this statistic for GMA.

Julie Cantor, M.D., and a faculty member at UCLA, said this case is different because Noah is actually ill.

"He has an identifiable disease and he has a treatment that according to the evidence, has a very high rate of success," Cantor told GMA.

Noah is now receiving both chemotherapy and CBD for treatment.

His parents' trial is expected to end Monday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Aug202019

Chrissy Teigen claims swollen lip caused by altitude sickness

Trae Patton/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Chrissy Teigen sent social media ablaze when she shared with her more than 11 million social media followers a photo of her extremely swollen bottom lip.

Teigen, a mom of two with husband John Legend, said she was in Utah attending a wedding and blamed her swollen lip on altitude sickness.

"did u know angioedema can be triggered from altitude sickness? learn something new every day! my lip about to explode. goodbye world," she captioned a photo of her lip.

Some of Teigen’s followers were quick to comment that they have experienced the same thing.

"Wait Chrissy did you just explain to me why my lips randomly swell up when I move between places with differing altitudes bc this happened multiple times to me when I went between my college town in Flagstaff and the valley I’m shook," wrote one user.

"I got altitude sickness while in Denver recently and my lips got puffy! I didn’t know it could be related- I felt like dying," wrote another.

Altitude sickness is caused by the low oxygen levels at destinations higher than 8,000 feet above sea level. It is usually provoked when people travel to high altitudes too quickly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC compares the symptoms of altitude illness to those of a hangover, including a headache, fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting. More serious symptoms can typically include swelling of the brain and lungs, according to the CDC.

Teigen, 33, said that in her case the "terrible altitude sickness" that hit her triggered angioedema, which is swelling in the deep layers of the skin, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).

Acute angioedema, where the swelling only lasts for minutes or days, is typically caused by an allergic reaction to medications or foods. When the condition returns over a long period of time it is known as chronic recurrent angioedema, according to AAAAI.

It is "unclear" whether changes in altitude can trigger angioedema, according to Dr. William Reisacher, otolaryngologist at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.

"The most common causes of angioedema are allergies to something that contacted the lips or while being on medications know as ACE inhibitors," he told ABC News' Good Morning America. "The lips can also swell when there is a source of inflammation elsewhere in the body."

In 20% of angiodema cases, the cause of the swelling is unknown, according to Reisacher.

The key to treating angiodema is finding the underlying cause of the reaction and avoiding any triggers, Reisacher explained. Medications like antihistamines and steroids may also help reduce symptoms.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug192019

South Dakota woman gives birth to triplets after thinking she had kidney stones

MillefloreImages/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A South Dakota mother was in for a huge surprise during a recent trip to the hospital earlier this month for what she thought was kidney stones.

"Started getting pains, figured it was kidney stones cause I went through them before," Dannette Giltz told ABC affiliate KOTA-TV.

Giltz didn't realize it, but she was going into labor and having triplets. The new mother of five had been pregnant for 34 weeks.

"You don't ever see triplets being conceived naturally, let alone going 34 weeks without knowing. So everyone's like, 'We can't believe it.' I am like, 'We're still in shock. Trust me, we know what you mean,'" Glitz said. She added, "It's crazy."

The triplets' 10 year-old brother said this is a dream come true.

"I wished for a baby brother and a baby sister and I knew this day was always gonna come," said Ronnie Giltz, according to KOTA-TV.

The triplets' father is still in shock and can't believe he has three newborn kids.

"Once we left the hospital, she's out of the hospital, I know she's OK. I am overwhelmed. Honestly, it's still exploding in my head," Austin Giltz said, according to the affiliate.

In the midst of this huge surprise, the triplets were named Blaze, Gypsy and Nikki.

Giltz said she was amazed by how much support she got from her community and added that she couldn't have gotten through this time without them. A friend of the Giltzes created a fundraiser on Facebook to support their family, raising over $1,600.

According to the mother's Facebook posts, the newborn triplets born on Aug. 10, weighing about 4 pounds each, are in good health and expected to come home in a few days.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Aug192019

Weight Watchers' app for kids draws backlash from parents, calls for boycott

dolgachov/iStock(NEW YORK) -- More than 78,000 people have signed a petition online calling on WW, formerly Weight Watchers, to remove its new app aimed at children ages 8 to 17.

The app, called Kurbo by WW, is "designed to help kids and teens ... reach a healthier weight," according to a statement released by WW.

The app uses the Traffic Light System, which divides foods into red, yellow and green groups. It also steers children toward eating more "green light" foods like fruits and vegetables.

The free app, which offers 1:1 coaching for a fee, also lets kids track their food and their behaviors around food. Further, it gives them access to recipe videos and healthy eating, and living-focused games, according to WW.

The app has drawn criticism from some parents and nutritionists who fear the app is too geared to weight loss and could hurt kids' relationship with food.

"The story that you are hearing over and over again is all of us who started struggling at the age that this app is targeted for saying it was already bad enough without an app," said Holly Stallcup, the woman who started the Change.org petition and who says she is in recovery from an eating disorder. "If we had had this app in our hands to literally log every bite of food to eat, we know that some of us would have actually died from our diseases because it would have so enabled our unhealthy, mentally ill thinking."

At least 30 million people in the U.S., of all ages and genders, suffer from an eating disorder, according to statistics compiled by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), a non-profit organization that supports people with eating disorders.

One part of the criticism leveled against Kurbo by WW is that it includes success stories that feature before and after photos of children as young as 8 years old, how much weight they have lost and their testimonials.

"Looking at before and after pictures of kids who have lost weight is absolutely something that could lead to children to feel horrible about themselves and it really is a form of body shaming," Keri Glassman, a New York City-based registered dietitian.

"They could have created an app for children that promoted healthy eating and healthy lifestyle and good health education and information and help children boost confidence," she said. "But I feel like the way this app was built is so similar to Weight Watchers, and just geared completely towards weight loss, weight loss, weight loss."

Childhood obesity is described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a "serious problem" for American children. The CDC estimates obesity affects around 13.7 million children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, in the U.S.

WW says it acquired Kurbo last year and then "conducted qualitative research to inform product development that would improve the user experience and make the prior Kurbo program more holistic."

One of the app's co-founders is a mom whose child struggled with weight, according to WW.

"According to recent reports from the World Health Organization, childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. This is a global public health crisis that needs to be addressed at scale," Joanna Strober, co-founder of Kurbo, said in a statement released by WW. "As a mom whose son struggled with his weight at a young age, I can personally attest to the importance and significance of having a solution like Kurbo by WW, which is inherently designed to be simple, fun and effective."

In addition to the free content, Kurbo by WW's subscription-based content includes services like one-on-one 15-minute virtual video sessions with specially-trained, Kurbo certified coaches and content for parents like recipes, shopping lists and a newsletter.

The added coaching services cost $69 per month or less if you subscribe for multiple months.

Weight Watchers rebranded itself as WW last year to emphasize the company's focus on wellness, and not just weight and dieting.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







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