Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Weight Watchers , founded in the 1960s by Jean Nidetch, is a company offering various dieting products and services to assist weight loss. It started as a discussion group for how to best lose weight. It now operates in about 30 countries around the world, generally under the name "Weight Watchers" translated into the local language. Its most prominent celebrity endorser is Sarah, Duchess of York.
Varying on location, Weight Watchers generally offers two distinct programs:
- The POINTS program
- The Core program
The programs are supplemented by optional support groups which meet regularly and provide ground assistance to those trying to meet weight-loss goals.
From 1978 until 1999, the Weight Watchers company was owned by the H. J. Heinz Company, which continues to produce packaged foods bearing the Weight Watchers brand name. Weight Watchers was acquired in a leveraged buyout in 1999 and went public in 2001.
The POINTS system is based on allocating servings of food a specific number of points. A program participant is allowed to eat food that amounts to a certain number of points per week. The number of permitted points for an individual is calculated based on the individual's weight goals, and the level of physical activity of the participant.
The formula for calculating the POINTS content of a specific food serving uses a formula described in US Patent 6,040,531:
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