Stephanie Rost, MS, RD

Weight Watchers International, Inc.
-A science-based lifestyle modification approach
focused on health promotion
Stephanie Rost, MS, RD,
Director of Corporate Program Development
Friday, October 14, 2011
About Us
• Who We Are
– Leading global provider of weight management services
for nearly 50 years
– Available in 25 countries
• Our Reach – U.S.
– Annually more than 1.7 million enrollments in Weight
Watchers meetings and 1 million signups for
– 25,000 meetings each week held in convenient times and
locations (~ 5000 in workplace)
• 75% of our members live with a 12 minute drive to a meeting
Weight Watchers Method
Developed by healthcare
Delivered by role models in a
supportive environment
A lifestyle modification program based
on science that includes education,
behavior change and group support
All meeting staff have consistently lost
and maintained their weight on the
Weight Watchers program
This method enables science to be
translated and applied in a way
that real people can understand
and follow in a sustainable way.
How to Follow Weight Watchers
•Monthly Pass:
•Unlimited meetings
•Most popular option
Monthly Pass:
More Engagement, More Weight Loss
• People who attended
meetings + eTools lost
50% more weight than
those who attended
meetings alone*
Weight loss (lbs)
• Strong correlation
between meeting
attendance and weightloss success
24 weeks
*Nguyen V et al. Obesity 15(9) suppl. A221, 2007.
Mtgs + Web
Weight Watchers Meetings
• Weight Watchers staff give a private and
confidential weigh-in prior to the meeting start
• Each meeting is a discussion led by a Leader,
with new topics each week (topics are
consistent in every location)
• Topics cover everything from holiday
eating and struggles to family meal ideas,
with lots of tips and suggestions
• Leaders are trained in the program and to pass
on their expertise and unique personal
experiences as Lifetime Members of Weight
• Tracking tools, robust content on
weight/lifestyle topics, recipe builder,
• ~1 million subscribers
• Mobile options (iPhone/iPad/Android)
• > 1.5MM downloads of iPhone App
• WW Kitchen Confidential Ipad App
• Support for other mobile platforms
The Four Pillars of the
Weight Watchers Approach
Cognitive Skills
Social Support
Uses formula based on macronutrients, net calories and satiety
to calculate PointsPlus value of a food
Fruit and most vegetables assigned 0 PointPlus value
“Power Food” designation rates foods based on health and
Scientific Heritage
• Strong
commitment to evaluating
efficacy of the Weight Watchers
•Established body of evidence
• 65 original scientific publication todate and growing
•Located in the Weight Watchers Scientific
Compendium Online
• Scientific Advisory Board
composed of world-renowned
obesity experts
Primary Care Referral to a Commercial Provider for Weight Loss
Treatment, relative to standard care: An international
randomized controlled trial.
Susan A Jebb, Amy L Ahern, Ashley D Olson, Louise A Aston, Christina Holzapfel, Julia
Stoll, Ulrike Amann-Gassner, Annie E Simpson, Nicholas R Fuller, Suzanne Pearson,
Namson S Lau, Adrian P Mander, Hans Hauner, Ian D Caterson
MRC Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge, UK
(published in The Lancet, September 7th, 2011)
Study objectives
Primary objective
• To examine the differences in weight loss at 12
months between general practitioner referral
(GP) to Weight Watchers (WW) program and
standard management in primary care (as
informed by national guidelines) across 3
• N = 772 participants (n = 377 WW, n = 395 SC)
Secondary objectives
• To investigate the number of subjects losing 5%
or 10% of baseline weight in each group.
• To investigate changes in indicators of
metabolic risk – including waist circumference,
body composition, blood pressure, blood
glucose, lipids, etc.
• In all analyses, participants referred to WW lost more than twice as much
weight as people receiving standard care over 12 months
• Weight loss over 1 year with WW was an average of 7 kg (15.4 lbs)
– This is considerably less than the 3 kg (6.6 lbs) loss among standard
• Among WW completers, 60% of participants
lost >5% and 32% lost >10% of baseline
– Among Standard Care completers,
25% lost >5% and about 9%
lost >10% of baseline weight
• Odds ratios of WW group achieving
at least 5% or 10% weight loss at
12 months:
– All subjects: 3.0; 3.2
– Completers: 2.9; 3.5
Weight Watchers on
prescription: An
observational study of
weight change among adults
referred to Weight Watchers
by the NHS
Amy L Ahern, Ashley D Olson, Louise A
Aston, Susan A Jebb.
BMC Public Health 2011, 11:434.
Identify and prescribe a set of solutions that reverse
or prevent the progression of weight of gain
Progression of Weight Gain
Requires a Portfolio of Solutions
Variety of options needed to match the
diverse needs of individuals with effective
Surgeries (e.g., banding, gastric
Medical Devices (e.g., VBLOC)
Medications (e.g., sibutramine,
Lifestyle Modification
• Structured eating plan
Healthy Weight
• Regular physical activity
• Cognitive skills
• Support

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