Friday 9 December 2016

Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch dies aged 91

Published 30/04/2015 | 15:01

New York housewife Jean Nidetch founded Weight Watchers in the early 1960s.
New York housewife Jean Nidetch founded Weight Watchers in the early 1960s.
Jean Nidetch, founder of Weight Watchers, has died at her home near Fort Lauderdale in Florida (AP)

The American woman who founded Weight Watchers and inspired millions to achieve weight loss success has died. Jean Nidetch passed away in her Florida home yesterday aged 91.

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The former housewife held her first Weight Watchers meeting in her sitting room in Queens, New York and established the brand into the multi-million dollar global company it is in 2015.

Nidetch, originally from Brooklyn, New York, was inspired to gather women together for Weight Watcher meetings after struggling with her weight throughout her life, weighing more than 14 stone in the early 1960s.

The entrepreneur’s first Weight Watchers plan was created with the help of the New York Board of Health and her early meetings were gatherings of her female friends and neighbours.

Nidetch officially launched Weight Watchers as a company in 1963 after she shed 72 pounds.

The New Yorker also coined Weight Watchers’ catch phrase "It's choice – not chance – that determines your destiny.”

Jean Nidetch
Jean Nidetch
New York housewife Jean Nidetch founded Weight Watchers in the early 1960s.

"Jean was an inspiration and an innovator who leaves behind a legacy and program that has positively impacted the health and well-being of millions of people around the world," said Jim Chambers, President and Chief Executive Officer, Weight Watchers International, Inc.

"It is our honor and responsibility to carry on her legacy to help more people to transform their lives."

 Throughout her career, Jean Nidetch also was a supporter of women in business and politics and in 1995 was named in the "Who's Who of 20th Century Women".

Nidetch is survived by her son, David Nidetch and three grandchildren.

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