Kurbo Health unveils a mobile program to fight childhood obesity

Kurbo Health

Kurbo Health is out with a new program to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic using mobile tools. According to the company, it will provide children, teens and their parents with access to a safe, effective and proven platform for losing weight.

Kurbo has also announced raising of $5.8 million in Series A funding, led by Signia Venture Partners.Incorporating smartphone apps, virtual feedback and live, personalized coaching, Kurbo teaches kids, teens and their families how to eat healthier and lose weight. Based on the Stanford University Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital’s pediatric obesity program, it promises up to 80% success rate for participants.

Part of the Rock Health fund, the company has also announced raising of $5.8 million in Series A funding, led by Signia Venture Partners. Other investors in the round include Data Collective, Bessemer Venture Partners and Promus Ventures, as well as Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; and Greg Badros, former VP of Engineering and Product at Facebook.

Kurbo is an evidence-backed system designed to empower and encourage kids to make healthier lifestyle choices. The system follows the well-known “Traffic Light Diet” food classification system, which encourages users to consume fewer “red foods” (processed foods high in sugar and fat), more “greens” (most fruits and vegetables) and “yellows” (like whole grain breads, dairy products, lean meats, etc.) in moderation. The system has three components: the mobile app, which contains a food tracker, games, progress screens, videos and “Krunch” challenges; virtual feedback and suggestions based on the foods tracked; and live, expert coaching delivered via phone, video and text to give participants feedback, encouragement and recommendations.

Kurbo’s first pilot program users with children ages 8-18 reported an 85% success rate in reducing their BMI over the course of ten weeks.“If an adult needs to lose weight, you might try MyFitnessPal or Weight Watchers, but neither of those is safe or even permitted for users under age eighteen,” said Kurbo Co-founder and CEO Joanna Strober. “We decided to take the best of the best hospital-based programs in the country and adapt them to the digital age. Kids love their cellphones, so why not put them to work to help with this problem?”

Operating in beta since February, Kurbo’s first pilot program users, which included children ages 8-18 from across the US, reported an 85% success rate in reducing their Body Mass Index (BMI) over the course of ten weeks.

Kurbo has already started partnering with several large affordable health care organizations and payers to distribute the service to their pediatric patients. The service is live now, but its mobile app is at the moment limited to iPhone users; Android version will be released shortly. Kurbo plans range from $10 to $75, depending on the levels of virtual and live coaching. A free trial period is available.