It offers various products and services to assist people lose and maintain weight by supporting them to form helpful habits, eat smarter and get more exercise. Today it operates in 30 countries.
No food is a sin or ‘off-limits’ but members are supposed to create a calorie deficit via a points system. The client can work via in-person meetings or online. A goal weight is selected that is within the healthy Body Mass Index range of 18 – 24.9.
The online support system is via an electronic message board where members can post and share advice.
The current PointsPlus program began in November 2010 following the company’s extensive research. The daily target range is consumption of the equivalent to 26 – 71 points. Members have an additional discretionary 49 points they can spend throughout the week. One point is about 35 – 45 calories, which equates to approximately 1,155 – 3,510 calories per day. Alternatively a member can use the Simply Filling Technique when enables them to eat from a limited range of mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains, non-fat dairy and dairy substitutes, lean proteins. This plan does not require tracking so they can eat portions that feel right for them.
While Weight Watchers claims that ‘research shows that people who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose three times more weight than [those who diet on their own]’, studies also show that the net average amount of weight lost in 12 months is a disappointing 3 kg or 6.6 lbs.
Owner H.J. Heinz Company sold out to Artal Luxembourg in 1999. Heinz continues to produce packaged food bearing the Weight Watchers brand. Weight Watchers went public in 2001. Artal retains a 50% share.