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Weight Watchers International, Inc. Corporate Backgrounder

Weight Watchers International was founded in 1963 by Jean Nidetch. The company became a publicly held corporation in September 1968, and 10 years later became a wholly owned subsidiary of the H. J. Heinz Company. In September 1999, Artal Luxembourg, S.A., took ownership of the company. Linda A. Huett is President and CEO of Weight Watchers International, Inc., based in Woodbury, Long Island, New York.

Throughout its history, Weight Watchers has taught millions of members how to lose weight. Currently, over one million members attend one of over 35,000 weekly Weight Watchers meetings in 30 countries worldwide. The majority of these members attend meetings held in the North America, with approximately 675,000 people attending over 20,000 weekly meetings.

Since it's introduction in the Fall of 1997, over 6.1 million members have lost over 61 million pounds on the POINTS® Weight-Loss System in North America.

The Weight Watchers Program

The Weight Watchers program is a state-of-the-art, scientifically-designed approach to weight control. Based on the philosophy that successful weight loss is achieved through the attainment of a series of realistic goals, the Weight Watchers program is a multi-dimensional, comprehensive way to learn how to achieve and then maintain a healthy body weight for the long-term. It incorporates healthful eating, physical activity, behavioral support, maintenance, and group support. The Program affirms that to lose weight safely and sensibly, a person must learn to eat more healthfully, increase physical activity and handle the challenges encountered in the process of changing behavior.

Winning Points — with the POINTS® Weight-Loss System

Recognizing that each member is unique, Weight Watchers has created Winning Points. It includes the patented POINTS® Weight-Loss System, which is proprietary to Weight Watchers. Winning Points introduces a self-discovery approach to weight loss. Building on the tremendous popularity of 1·2·3 Success, Weight Watchers will help members discover more about themselves in relation to weight loss, in the areas of dieting personality, satisfaction with meals, and eating pattern.

The core of Winning Points is still the POINTS®Food System, based on a "breakthrough" formula involving calories, fat and fiber. There is no complicated counting. It offers the flexibility of Meal Ideas and the structure of Food Lists featuring common foods, with POINTS® values, in realistic portions. POINTS® can also be determined quickly and easily from any food label using the POINTS® finderâ slide.

Members are given the freedom to enjoy special occasions and eating out. No food is forbidden. The principles of portion control are reinforced, to help members learn to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Winning Points meets the nutritional recommendations of many major health organizations in North America. The plan is designed to encourage members to eat a wide variety of foods, in amounts that promote a healthy weight loss.

Another core component is The POINTS Activity System, designed to complement the POINTS Food System. Based on a proprietary formula that includes body weight, time and intensity, all types of physical activity can be assigned a POINTSvalue. Weight Watchers members are provided with a POINTSboosterTM to calculate activity POINTSindependently. Recommendations about the types and amount of physical activity to be included are consistent with the guidelines advocated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. Members are encouraged to reduce sedentary behavior and progressively increase activity throughout Winning Points.

The need for behavioral change is also a core component of the Weight Watchers program. Weight Watchers knows that there are personal challenges encountered throughout the weight loss process. To meet this need, Weight Watchers Tools for Living were developed to teach specific skills that enhance members' ability to meet and overcome these challenges. As part of the group meetings, discussions on real topics — such as staying motivated, overeating, and managing stress — offer valuable insight and provide the reassurance that no one has to do it alone.

Winning Points shows each member how to put the pieces of their weight loss puzzle together including the above core components. Over the course of several weeks, other important components of weight loss are explored, with suggestions for adapting them to suit members' lifestyles. They include your dieting personality profile, assessed in "What's your Style?", the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, discussed in "The Right Mix" and the best eating pattern for you, covered in "Meal Time." Each component begins with some self-assessment questions. As members learn more about themselves on their journey of self-discovery, they'll be able to make Winning Points fit their unique needs, using the tips, techniques and strategies specifically geared for their weight loss profile.

Losing 10% of present weight continues to be encouraged by leaders as an initial weight-loss goal for members. Once members reach their weight goal — set by their physician or one within a weight range determined as a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) — and maintain it for six weeks, they achieve Lifetime Member status. This gives them the privilege of attending Weight Watchers meetings free of charge, as long as they maintain a weight within two pounds of their weight goal and weigh in once a month.

The Group Support System

For over 37 years, Weight Watchers has learned that the strongest motivation and support comes from people who have been there themselves - and succeeded. The Group Support System remains the cornerstone of the Weight Watchers program.

Weight Watchers offers this support with meetings that are interactive, contemporary, and encourage hands-on learning through group activities and discussions. Meetings can be customized to suit the particular needs of each individual group. Members learn strategies from Leaders who have learned how to lose and maintain their weight on the Weight Watchers Program and are trained to respond to members' needs. The Weight Watchers Group Support System continues throughout the maintenance period of the Program when members learn how to stay within their appropriate weight range.

Weight Watchers Services

Weight Watchers comprehensive approach to weight management is offered through two distinct services: Traditional Group Services and The At Work Program®.

Traditional Group Service is the Weight Watchers meeting offered within the community, either at a retail site or a community center. The At Work Program from Weight Watchers, created in 1984, meets the weight-loss needs of people in the workforce by operating "on-site" in their place of employment. Employees can attend The At Work Program meetings that are held either before work, during lunch hours, or after work.

Weight Watchers Products

In addition to the weight management program, a number of products and services are offered under the Weight Watchers trademark, either through Weight Watchers International or its licensees. These include a broad line of food products, best-selling cookbooks, exercise videos and audio tapes, a variety of food scales, program tools, and a national magazine.

Weight Watchers Website and Toll Free Number

Weight Watchers website address is www.weightwatchers.com, and its national toll-free phone number for program and membership information is 1-800-651-6000.

Weight Watchers Scientific Advisory Council

The Scientific Advisory Council is comprised of experts who provide Weight Watchers with advice and counsel regarding scientific issues and trends. The board includes: Xavier Pi-Sunyer, M.D., St. Lukes/Roosevelt Hospital, NYC, Chairperson; Claude Bouchard, Ph.D., Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA; Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; William McArdle, Ph.D., FACSM, Queens College of the City of New York; Judith Stern, Ph.D., University of California-Davis; Roland Weinsier, M.D., Dr.P.H., University of Alabama; Mervyn Susser, M.D., Columbia University, New York, NY; Michael Lowe, Ph.D., MCP Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, PA; Myron Winick, M.D., Medical Director, Weight Watchers International, Woodbury, NY.

Research shows that people who go to Weight Watchers meetings are much more likely to lose weight than people who try to lose weight on their own. In fact, each week more than one million members attend approximately 39,000 Weight Watchers meetings in 30 countries around the world. To learn more about Weight Watchers, visit WeightWatchers.com. To find the nearest Weight Watchers meeting location, call 1-800-651-6000, or click on the Find a Meeting link at the top of our homepage.


From:
Weight Watchers International
175 Crossways Park West, Woodbury, NY 11797
www.weightwatchers.com

Press Contacts:

Linda Webb-Carilli
516-390-1488 | carillil@weight-watchers.com

Chris Corcoran
516-390-1405 | corcoranc@weight-watchers.com
For immediate release

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