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Jean Nidetch, Founder of Weight Watchers, Dies at 91

Jean Nidetch, the 91-year-old co-founder of Weight Watchers died early Wednesday morning in her Fort Lauderdale, Florida home.

Born Jean Evelyn Slutsky in Brooklyn in 1923, Nidetch, was the daughter of a cabdriver and a manicurist. After she married, the unhappy and overweight Nidetch tried fad diet after fad diet to no avail, but when she ran into a neighbor in a supermarket that asked her when she was due that Nidetch tried something different. She started a support group with her friends that turned into weekly classes and later incorporated Weight Watchers in 1963 — it was a runaway success.

An astounding 16,000 Weight Watchers members attended the company’s star-studded 10th at Madison Square Garden in 1973.

After the company went public, it was sold to H.J. Heinz for $71.2 million. Nidetch stayed on as head of public relations until 1984.

Just recently, Weight Watchers was ranked as the number one diet in the country with the best long-term weight loss rate for its users.


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