More than 30 million people in the U.S. have an eating disorder, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc
Stephanie Zerwas, clinical director of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina, told the New York Times
that while the feature was meant to encourage walking, those with eating disorders would “fixate on the number,” a mindset counselors try to minimize.
“We’ve gotten into this habit of thinking about our bodies and the foods we take in and how much activity we do as this mathematical equation, and it’s really not,” she said. “The more we have technology that promotes that view, the more people who may develop eating disorders might be triggered into that pathway.”
Another expert, Claire Mysko, chief executive of the National Eating Disorders Association, told the Times
that for some, calorie counting isn’t much of an issue.
“But for people who are hyper-focused on numbers, that can feel very oppressive to see calorie counts everywhere when you’re trying to shift your relationship with food.”
Instead, Mysko suggested Google could promote exercise “in terms of strength and how it makes you feel.”
Other iOS users also said the feature reinforced an unhealthy relationship with food and noted previous research
has shown exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight in the first place.