# Weight Watchers

Type Public NYSE: WTW 1963 11 Madison AvenueNew York, New York 10010 David P. Kirchhoff, President & CEO Weight loss, Packaged foods 28,000 (as of 2010) weightwatchers.comweightwatchers.co.ukweightwatchers.cafr.weightwatchers.ca

Type Public NYSE: WTW 1963 11 Madison AvenueNew York, New York 10010 David P. Kirchhoff, President & CEO Weight loss, Packaged foods 28,000 (as of 2010) weightwatchers.comweightwatchers.co.ukweightwatchers.cafr.weightwatchers.ca
A Weight Watchers location
in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts

Weight Watchers is an American-based international company that offers various dieting products and services to assist weight loss and maintenance. Founded in 1963 by Brooklyn homemaker Jean Nidetch, it now operates in about 30 countries around the world, generally under names that are local translations of “Weight Watchers”. The core philosophy behind Weight Watchers programs is to use a science-driven approach to help participants lose weight by forming helpful habits, eating smarter, getting more exercise and providing support.[1][2]

The term weight-watcher, in the same sense, had circulated publicly for several years before the company was formed.[3]

## Approach and Philosophy

Weight Watchers' core approach is to assist members in losing weight by forming helpful habits, eating smarter, getting more exercise and providing support.[1] In contrast to other diets that might provide a list of foods that either must be or should never be eaten, Weight Watchers ' primary plan has no directly comparable requirements and no food is off limits. Participants lose weight by creating a calorie deficit; the PointsPlus system provides a framework for creating that deficit.[2] Accordingly, Weight Watchers is generally compatible with other diet approaches and/or food intake restrictions (e.g., the paleolithic diet and South Beach diet), provided participants use the Weight Watchers framework to measure and limit the quantity of food consumed while using the other diet plan to dictate the range of acceptable food choices.

The newest plan is "taking a stand for unprocessed foods, however some dietitians[who?] would agree that many of the foods in weight watchers should be omitted completely due to the fact that one could be "weighed down" in consuming them and therefore less motivated or able to exercise."[citation needed] and has adjusted the cost of items while retaining the fundamental "counting, budgeting, and planning approach"[2] that has been the hallmark of Weight Watchers plans since the introduction of points-based counting systems.[2]

There are two primary ways individuals can work with Weight Watchers: via in-person meetings and an online-only program.[1] Both programs use the same basic materials and computations.[2] For in-person meetings, Weight Watchers encourages members to select a goal weight that results in a body mass index generally accepted as healthy (18 to 24.9), although a member may also establish a goal weight outside of that range after providing a doctor's note to that effect. In order to join Weight Watchers in the United States, one must weigh at least 5 pounds (2.3 kg) more than the minimum weight for his or her height.[citation needed]

Once a member reaches his or her goal weight, he or she starts a maintenance period. For the following six weeks, the member gradually increases his or her food intake until the member no longer loses or gains weight. If, at the end of six weigh-ins during the maintenance period, the member weighs in within 2 pounds (0.91 kg) of his or her goal weight, he or she becomes a "Lifetime" member.[4] A Lifetime member may attend meetings free of charge as long as he or she weighs in at least once per calendar month and, at any weigh-in, does not weigh more than 2 pounds (0.91 kg) more than his or her goal weight.[4] If the member weighs more than 2 pounds (0.91 kg) over the goal weight at a weigh-in, he or she will be charged the weekly fee until he or she again obtains a weight within the target range.[4] As long as a Lifetime member weighs in each month and stays within the target range, there is no fee for attending meetings, and the member may attend for the rest of his or her life. Unlike new members, Lifetime members are never charged a registration fee, even if they regain weight or fail to weigh in every calendar month.[4]

Weight Watchers’ eTools is a Web-based service for members that includes access to support materials and tracking tools. The service is available for an additional fee for members who pay as they go, and is included in the fee for members who opt for the recurring "Monthly Pass" membership plan. In some areas Weight Watchers meetings are operated by a locally franchised organization rather than by Weight Watchers International.[5]

Additionally, a fully online program is available via the Weight Watchers website.[6] Online and meeting memberships are entirely separate and online-only members are not eligible for "Lifetime" status.[4] The support system for Weight Watchers Online is a message board where members can post support and share advice. The message board (but not the other support tools) is available free of charge to the public; in an attempt to limit access to the essential plan information to its members, Weight Watchers prohibits the posting of Points or PointsPlus values for foods on the boards.

## Power and Importance of Group Talk in Weight Watchers

Weight Watcher's meetings encourage confession of a self-diagnosed pathology. In meetings, members are urged to realize they have an addiction and to treat overeating as such. Moreover, they confess eating binges and "pigging out" downfalls. This absolves members from the burden of guilt. Thus, they are able to understand that it is ok to make mistakes and learn from them. Also, group talk encourages testimonials where members are reminded of the effectiveness of the Weight Watcher's weight loss plan. There are many celebratory moments described as positive reinforcement, and those moments are inspiring to all members. [7]

## Weight loss plans

### In the United States

The primary, current plan offered in the United States starting in November 2010 is called "PointsPlus". Touted by Weight Watchers as incorporating a decade of science compared to the prior Points-based plans, the focus remains on assisting members in creating a calorie deficit to lose weight using a reformulated calculation approach for computing target daily points (e.g., approximately how many calories per day should be eaten) and the costs of food (the PointsPlus values of food).[8]

The calculation of the daily points targets is based on creating approximately a 1,000 calorie/day deficit (WO application 2010025422  [0098]-[00109] and accompanying equations 16-19). This in turn means that members are assigned a daily point target in the range of 26-71 PointsPlus to consume each day. Additionally, members are allowed 49 PointsPlus each week, or weekly points, that they can spend how they wish throughout the week. Physical activity earns activity points that, like weekly points, can be used to supplement the daily points allowance.

As compared to prior Points-based plans, the main change is the direct computation of PointsPlus-values from macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates) vs. calories and fat. Both formulas used dietary fiber information when it was available. The formulas are country specific based on the information on nutrition labels in a given country. The patent provides equations for different country labeling techniques.

This change allowed Weight Watchers to change the relative cost of the different macronutrients. Specifically, the relative weight of fat appears to be unchanged vs. the Momentum calculation; however, carbohydrates are "more expensive" and fiber is "less beneficial" and protein is only modestly changed. This increases the PointsPlus cost vs. the Point cost of a number of foods that were specially designed to take advantage of the old formula, e.g., muffins loaded with fiber to stay at 1 Point. The range of calories for one PointsPlus point is approximately in the range of 35-45 calories, in contrast one Point had a broader range of approximately 25-80 calories. However, because the approach for computing the daily points target has been refined (WO application 2010025422  [0098]-[00104] and accompanying equations 16 (male) and 17 (female)), most people have significantly more PointsPlus available as part of their daily points target than on the prior Momentum plan. For example, under the Momentum plan 18 was the minimum number of points; now 26 (as of 2012, down from 29) is the minimum number of points. Additionally, irrespective of the underlying nutritional information, on the PointsPlus plan, fruits and most vegetables are considered to have a PointsPlus value of 0.

As an alternative to the PointsPlus plan, participants can use the Simply Filling Technique.[9] On the Simply Filling Technique, participants are intended to eat from a designated list of foods without the requirement to track.[9] Categories of foods on the list include: most fruits and vegetables, whole grains, non-fat dairy and dairy substitutes, lean proteins,and a handful of other items.[9] For items that a person eats that are not on the list, a weekly points allowance of PointsPlus points is available to be used and the value of that item must be tracked.[9] Because the plan does not require tracking, participants must be mindful to "[e]at portions that feel right for [them]. Not so much that [they] feel too full, and not too little that [they] still feel hungry."[9]

#### Momentum

Weight Watchers implemented the Momentum Plan on December 7, 2008. The cornerstone of the plan is the proprietary Points formula, which allocates each food a value based on its calories, fat, and fiber. Members are allocated a certain number of points each day based on their height, current weight, age, and activity level. Members are also allowed 49 optional Points each week. Finally, members earn additional Points through exercise. These "Activity Points" are calculated based on the member's weight and the duration and intensity of the activity. Activity Points previously had to be consumed on the day that they were earned or they were lost; with the Momentum plan, they can be eaten on any day during the week.

The Momentum Plan encourages members to choose foods by meeting the "Good Health Guidelines." These include eating lean protein and whole grains, meeting target servings of fruits and vegetables and dairy or soy products, taking a multivitamin, exercising, eating healthy oils, drinking adequate liquids, and limiting sugar and alcohol. Additionally, the Momentum Plan encourages members to remain satisfied while dieting by focusing on eating foods identified as Filling Foods, which include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and soy products, and lean proteins, but this is not required. The effect of this is that the member is not prevented from eating any specific type of food, but he or she must consume foods only with his or her allotment of points. This stands in marked contrast to approaches such as the South Beach or Atkins diets, in which some foods are completely forbidden and others are permitted in as great a quantity as the dieter likes. The member also has the choice to exercise — which will entitle him or her to consume more food — or to eat food of lower Points value if he or she prefers not to exercise.

Many (but not all) of the Filling Foods also have a SetPoints value that allows members to eat a reasonable portion of the food and track the SetPoints value, rather than having to measure and calculate the exact Points value of the portion eaten. The Momentum Plan also includes an option that allows members to eat from the Filling Foods list without tracking Points values at all. This option, known as the Simply Filling Technique, is very similar to the former Core Plan. Members following the Simply Filling Technique do not receive a daily Points allowance, but eat to satisfaction from the Filling Foods list. They do, however, receive the 35 weekly Points, and are entitled to eat any Activity Points that they earn. The weekly Points and Activity Points may be used for foods that are not on the Filling Foods list.

Many Weight Watchers proponents enjoy the tracking option of the Momentum Plan precisely because no food is out of bounds as long as it is eaten in moderation.[citation needed] (In the UK, Weight Watchers advertises under the slogan “Where no food is a sin”; this is a reference to its chief competitor Slimming World’s system of giving some food “syn” values.)Many others, however, dislike the record-keeping that the plan requires of participants, who must keep track of the Points values of everything they eat; they prefer the Simply Filling option or other plans that place restrictions on types of food rather than quantities.

#### TurnAround

In August 2004, Weight Watchers introduced the TurnAround program, incorporating parts of the Flex and Core food plans, but intended to assist people in developing an overall healthy lifestyle. Aside from encouraging healthy eating and providing member support, the program encouraged participants to follow eight Good Health Guidelines.[citation needed]

#### Historical Plans

Jean Nidetch, the founder of Weight Watchers, wrote a book in the early 1970s The Memoir of a Successful Loser The Story of Weight Watchers that documented the original Weight Watchers plan.

That original plan was supplanted shortly after the book with materials bearing a 1972-73 copyright: “Weight Watchers(R) Program Handbook for Ladies”.[10] This plan was similar to the original plan.

By 1989, the plan had switched to an exchange-based diet.[11] The document's subtitle and copyright dates make determining the exact date difficult, “The Quick Success(R) Program” with the subtitle “New for 1989” has a copyright date of 1987, 1988.[11]

By 1997, the first Points-based program was introduced.

### In the UK

The original Points Plan was developed in the Uk by the Weight Watchers programme development team headed by Sarah Watson and Marian Way who took out the first patent for a calculator to embody the algorithm (based on the summation of calories/70 and saturated fat/4 with the sum rounded to the nearest half) the patent was filed on 1/11/95 [12] In the UK during November 2010 the Points plan has been replaced with ProPoints. This is similar to the Points plan only the calculation now takes protein, carbohydrates, all fat and fiber into consideration. The following main changes were made from the Points to ProPoints plan:

• Change in formula, so the majority of foods now cost more ProPoints than Points
• Daily ProPoint allowances were increased however you are no longer allowed to carry your daily ProPoints over to the next day
• Most fruit and vegetables are now zero ProPoints
• All participants also have a weekly ProPoints allowance of 49 ProPoints which they can choose to use as they see fit throughout the week!

### In Ireland and Australia

In Ireland there has recently been a new plan launched called ProPoints Plan.Traditional weight loss plans are based on the calories on a food label. But the new ProPoints system incorporates the latest science that shows there is a more accurate way to assess the impact a food has on weight loss. ProPoints values are calculated using 4 macronutrients: fat, fibre, protein and carbohydrate. There is also a new weekly ProPoints allowance and zero ProPoints values fruit and veg.

Ireland www.weightwatchers.ie Australia www.weightwatchers.com.au

## Effectiveness

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].”[13][14][15][16] Specifically, the results of the study were that the mean weight loss of Weight Watchers participants was 2.3 times more than (3.3 times as much as) the self-help group at one year, and essentially undefined at two years.[17] Weight Watchers also claims that members who both use Weight Watchers’ Web-based eTools and attend meetings lose half again as much weight as those who only attend meetings, but it fails to cite a study to back up this claim, instead only referring to an unspecified “12 week study comparing people who were instructed to attend Weight Watchers meetings and use eTools to people who were instructed to attend Weight Watchers meetings alone”.[18]

A clinical study involving Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers and The Zone diets, published in 2005, reported that among the Weight Watchers participants the average net weight loss in a one-year period was 3.0 kilograms (6.6 lb).[citation needed] However, the study only included two months of “maximum effort”, letting the participants decide their level of adherence for the following ten months.[citation needed] Weight Watchers was the third most effective diet in terms of weight loss, and those that continued to adhere to any of the diets significantly decreased cardiac risk factors.[19]

## Spokespersons

The current spokesperson for Weight Watchers is Grammy/Academy-Award winner singer/actress Jennifer Hudson.[20][21] Prior spokespersons associated with the product were actresses Lynn Redgrave and Jenny McCarthy, and Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson.

## Corporate information

### Corporate history

From 1978 until 1999, Weight Watchers was owned by the H. J. Heinz Company, which continues to produce packaged foods bearing the Weight Watchers brand (and with point values clearly identified). Weight Watchers was acquired in a leveraged buyout in 1999 by Artal Luxembourg and went public in 2001. Artal continues to own over 50% of the shares of Weight Watchers as of 2010.

### Corporate governance

The current members of the board of directors of Weight Watchers are Philippe Amouyal, John Bard, Raymond Debbane, Marsha Evans, Jonas Fajgenbaum, Linda Huett, Sacha Lainovic, Sam K. Reed and Christopher Sobecki.

## Formulas

Weight Watchers has not provided official confirmation of the Points or PointsPlus formulas and has aggressively sent cease and desist letters to websites and a number of third party tools that claimed to provide Points, or PointsPlus, calculations. See, e.g.,[22] Nonetheless, some companies such as ConAgra Foods have computed values for their frozen meals, Healthy Choice brand, without Weight Watcher's consent. See Weight Watchers#Criticism.

Additionally, as shown in Weight Watchers patent applications, the formulas are adapted in each country based on the information regularly provided on nutrition labels within a country.

For each program there should be three groups of formulas: a formula or chart to compute (daily) target consumption, a formula for computing the cost of foods, and a formula for computing the value of activity under the program to earn extra consumption. These formulas are present in Weight Watchers patents and are presented from those patents here.

### PointsPlus (US; Nov 2010-)

#### Food Values

In November 2010, Weight Watchers in the United States announced that its Points system was being replaced by a new PointsPlus system. The old system was based on a calculation based on calories, fat, and fiber content. The new PointsPlus system is based on protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber:

$\text{PointsPlus} = \max \left\{ \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{(16 \cdot \text{protein}) + (19 \cdot \text{carbohydrates}) + (45 \cdot \text{fat}) - (14 \cdot \text{fiber})}{175}\right) , 0 \right\}$

or

$\text{PointsPlus} =\max \left\{ \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{\text{protein}}{10.9375} + \frac{\text{carbohydrates}}{9.2105} + \frac{\text{fat}}{3.8889} - \frac{\text{fiber}}{12.5} \right), 0 \right\}$

where all units are grams. This formula is Equation 10 of [23] with the preferred weightings for the macronutrients entered. Additionally, while not confirmed by Weight Watchers it is an empirical match to the Weight Watchers calculators.

Some foods such as fruits and fresh vegetables are treated has having a PointsPlus value of 0 by Weight Watchers standards[23][24] despite having a non-zero value if entered directly into the Weight Watcher's calculator using the Nutrition facts label information.

Alcohol and sugar alcohols (sorbitol, malitol, etc.) are exceptions to the above formula. See [23] at Equation 12 (paragraph [0090]) and Equation 14 (paragraph [0094]), respectively for specific formulas for those items. As a shorthand, you can enter alcohol grams as fat grams and sugar alcohols as carbohydrates grams in the formula provided. The reason alcohol is weighted more heavily than would otherwise occur is due to two reasons, see [23] at paragraph [0089], (a) "based on the principle that alcohol is metabolized in the same pathway as fat" (treats alcohol as having 9 calories per gram) and (b) "based, in part, on the desirability of discouraging consumption of alcohol, due to the ill-healthy effects associated with this nutrient" (weights alcohol more than other sources of calories). This latter explanation is in spite of evidence linking moderate alcohol consumption to reduced incidence of coronary disease.[25] This may have been done because of the inelastic nature of the point system, which is unable to distinguish between occasional and heavy drinking.

##### Food with Alcohol and Sugar Alcohol
$\text{PointsPlus} = \max \left\{ \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{(16 \cdot \text{protein}) + (19 \cdot (\text{carbohydrates} - \text{sugar alcohol})) + (45 \cdot \text{fat}) - (14 \cdot \text{fiber}) +(58.05 \cdot \text{alcohol}) + (11.4 \cdot \text{sugar alcohol})}{175} \right) , 0 \right\}$

or after simplifying so sugar alcohols which are included in the carbohydrate count on US nutrition labels only appears once:

$\text{PointsPlus} =\max \left\{ \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{\text{protein}}{10.9375} + \frac{\text{carbohydrates}}{9.2105} + \frac{\text{fat}}{3.8889} - \frac{\text{fiber}}{12.5} + \frac{\text{alcohol}}{3.0147} - \frac{\text{sugar alcohol}}{23.0263} \right), 0 \right\}$

#### Daily Points Target

For 2010 PointsPlus, the formulas in Equations 16-19 of [23] show the basic calculation of daily points targets for adults age 19+:

$TEE_m = 864 - (9.72 \cdot age) + 1.12 \cdot (14.2 \cdot weight + 503 \cdot height)$
$TEE_f = 387 - (7.31 \cdot age) + 1.14 \cdot (10.9 \cdot weight + 660.7 \cdot height)$

Where $TEE_m$ and $TEE_f$ represent the total energy expenditure (in kCal) for men and women, respectively, on a basic day. Weight is provided in kilograms and height in meters.

The $TEE$ is adjusted for foods treated as having a PointsPlus value of 0 despite having a caloric content:

$ATEE =0.9 \cdot TEE + 200$

Finally, the daily target can be computed:

$Target = \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{\min \left( \max \left( ATEE - 1000, 1000 \right), 2500 \right) }{35} \right)$

Note that the patent also suggests that 3000 might be the upper kCal limit as opposed to 2500 kCal and 500 might be the lower limit rather than 1000 kCal. The results of these patent-provided formulas produce a range from 29 to 71 matching the high and low range reported by Weight Watchers members.[26][27]

The above would not account for the 49 weekly points, or 7/day.[28] Nor would it account for comments on the Weight Watchers boards discussing the patent and identifying an additional constant offset from the patent by a value of 11 in the middle of the points range, or 7 + 4.[29][30] To accommodate 2012 plan changes and in order to remain in the 26-71 range and account for this constant offset, the target formula would be:

$Target_{mod} = \min \left (\max \left( \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{ \max \left( ATEE - 1000, 1000 \right) }{35} \right) - 7 - 4, 26 \right), 71 \right)$

#### Activity Points Under PointsPlus

The prior system described in U.S. Patent 6,663,564 at Col 6, lines 14-61, provided one activity point for approximately every 100 Calories expended vs. 1 Point of food having approximately 50 calories. The formulas used under the PointsPlus system must still be identified; however, if the same ratio of exercise to additional consumption is maintained, then each new activity point would correspond to 70 Calories expended vs. 1 PointPlus of food having approximately 35 calories.

### ProPoints (UK, Nov 2010-)

Aside from differences in nutrition labeling resulting in a slightly different calculation of ProPoints from the label, there is no evidence to suggest the ProPoints system and PointsPlus systems are significantly different as of December 2010.

#### Food Values

In the UK during November 2010, Weight Watchers announced that its Points system was being replaced by a new ProPoints system. The new PointsPlus system is based on protein, carbohydrates, fat and fiber:

$ProPoints = \max \left\{ \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{(16 \cdot protein) + (19 \cdot carbohydrates) + (45 \cdot fat) + (5 \cdot fiber)}{175}\right), 0 \right\}$

or

$ProPoints = \max \left\{ \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{protein}{10.9375} + \frac{carbohydrates}{9.2105} + \frac{fat}{3.8889} + \frac{fiber}{35} \right) , 0 \right\}$

where all input units are grams. This formula is based on Equation 10 of [23] and taking into account that the carbohydrate line on nutrition labels in the UK do not count the fiber. The formula also has been empirically compared with a third party ProPoints calculator.[31]

### Points (US; Circa 1998-2010)

#### Food Values

The formula for calculating the value of a specific serving in points is described in U.S. Patent 6,040,531:

$p(c,f,r) = \mathrm{round} \left( \frac{c}{50} + \frac{f}{12} - \frac{\min\{r,4\}}{5} \right)$

where $p$ is the number of points, $c$ is the amount of energy in Calories (1 Calorie (Cal) ≡ 1 kilocalorie (kcal) ≈ 4.2 kilojoules (kJ)), $f$ is the amount of fat in grams, and min{$r$,4} is the lesser of the amount of dietary fiber in grams or four.[32] The value is always an integer, with fractional values rounded to the nearest point. An alternative version mentioned in the patent and used on some Web sites rounds values to the nearest half-point.

#### Daily Targets

##### Patent Based

Various versions of the prior Points-based programs have used different approaches to calculate the daily target points (and then providing 35 weekly points). Keep in mind the new PointsPlus program is different, see Weight_Watchers#Daily_Points_Target (49 weekly points provided on PointsPlus plan).

According to U.S. Patent 6,040,531 at Col. 5, lines 4-16, the points targets were assigned based on weight bands and ranged from 18-35 Points per day.

##### Survey Based

The above, patent-provided daily Points targets are not well correlated with the energy requirements of typical males or females. Accordingly, in one of the later incarnations of the Points-based plans (there were several: 1-2-3 Success, Winning Points, Flex, Turnaround, Momentum) Weight Watchers switched to a survey-based approach that provided a range from 18-44 points[33] together with 35 weekly points:[33]

10% of your weight in pounds
PLUS
2 points for females
8 points for males
PLUS
4 points if you're between 17-26 years old
3 points if you're between 27-37 years old
2 points if you're between 38-47 years old
1 point if you're between 48-58 years old
0 points if you're over 58
PLUS
0 points if you're under 5' 1"
1 point if you're between 5' 1" and 5' 10"
2 points if you're over 5' 10"
PLUS
0 points if you spend most of your day sitting down
2 point if you spend most of your day standing
4 points if you are walking most of the time
6 points if you are doing physically hard work
PLUS
10 points for mothers who are solely breast feeding
5 points for supplementing breastfeeding with some solid foods or formula

The sum (bounded below by 18 and at the top by 44) is the daily target.

#### Activity Points

According to U.S. Patent 6,663,564 at Col 6, lines 14-61, the formula for computing the additional consumption (extra Points) available for activity is described. Analysis of the formulas indicates[34] that 1 point for activity is earned for approximately every 100 Calories of effort. Given that 1 PointsPlus could be approximated as 40 Calories, consuming activity points would still create a calorie deficit.

#### Food Values Outside the United States

Outside the United States, Nutrition facts labels are markedly different from those in the United States; in particular, energy is usually expressed in standard kilojoules (kJ) rather than Calories (kcal), and labels in some countries may not show fiber content. The points formula for some markets is based on energy (in kilojoules) and saturated (not total) fat. This formula is also described in U.S. Patent 6,040,531 at Col 3, lines 10-33 and Col 7, lines 10-20:

$p = \frac{e}{k_1} + \frac{f}{k_2}$

Where $p$ is the number of Points, $e$ is the energy value (in either kilojoules (kJ) or Calories (kcal)), and $f$ is the amount of saturated fat in grams. The constants $k_1$ and $k_2$ are weights used in the formula. A practical implementation of this formula for a kilojoule-based calculation appears to be as follows:

$p = \frac{e}{290} + \frac{f}{4}$

or the following for a Calorie-based calculation:

$p = \frac{e}{70} + \frac{f}{4}$

The resultant value $p$ is then rounded to the nearest half.

Note, the calorie based-formula is provided directly in Col 7, the kJ formula is a close match to the calorie based formula based on 70 kCal = 292.88 kJ.

#### Food Values, Alternative Calculation

An early version of the points system did not limit the fiber “credit” to four grams. Another variation, which may be explained by rounding, is that the “points finder” slide-rule distributed at Weight Watchers meetings does not reach a value of 1 unless an item has at least 70 calories (300 kJ), rather than 50 Cal (200 kJ) as the formula indicates. As a result, point boundaries are 20 calories (80 kJ) or 4.8 grams of fat higher than might be expected.

More recent versions of the program, such as that described in U.S. Patent 6,878,885, take exercise and physical activity into account to grant additional points in the daily allowance.

### Calculation Aides

Members can either use Weight Watchers' published books with the PointsPlus values (or ProPoints values) for a variety of foods or they can use a Weight Watcher's calculator designed to accept the inputs required to compute PointsPlus values. The calculators sell for approximately \$12.

Weight Watchers also sells small paperback books that list thousands of foods sold by fast-food and full-service restaurant chains as well as generic restaurant foods, e.g., “Mexican: refried beans, ½ cup” (120 mL), and corresponding point values. This is useful in cases where precise nutritional data are not available. These books are available for purchase at meetings and to online members via the Weightwatchers.com website.

#### Former Calculation Aides

Prior to PointsPlus, members are given a cardboard slide rule to assist in calculating point values of foods. Because the new program has more inputs, the slide rule approach is no longer feasible. By reading the nutrition label on any food package and quickly adjusting three slide-rule scales for energy, fat, and fiber, the point value is easily determined by inspection of a fourth scale. Weight Watchers also sells an electronic calculator that performs the same functions.

## References

1. ^ a b c "Helping People Lose Weight for 45 Years". Retrieved 2010-12-29.
2. David Kirchhoff, Our New Program the Next Level, retrieved 2010-12-29
3. ^
4. "Lifetime Membership FAQ". Retrieved 2010-12-29.
5. ^ "Home Page". Weight Watchers of Philadelphia. Retrieved 2008-06-07. "This website is operated by Weight Watchers of Philadelphia, Inc. [punctuation sic] a franchise of Weight Watchers International, Inc."
6. ^ "Weight Watchers Summary of Plan Options". Retrieved 2010-12-27.
7. ^ MOISIO, R., & BERUCHASHVILI, M. (2010). "Questing for Well-Being at Weight Watchers: The Role of the Spiritual-Therapeutic Model in a Support Group". journal Of Consumer Research, 36(5), 857-875.
8. ^ Weight Watchers Points Plus: Diet Review By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD WebMD Expert Review
9. ^ ["http://b.feli.me/post/4959873786/ww-1972-plan" "WW 1972 Plan"]. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
10. ^ a b ["http://b.feli.me/post/4989735431/ww-1989-plan" "WW 1989 Plan"]. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
11. ^
12. ^ The Weight Watchers Research Dept. (2008). "The Benefits of a Supportive Environment". Weight Watchers International. Retrieved 2008-06-07. "Research has found that those who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose three times more weight than those who try to lose weight on their own."
13. ^ "Weight Watchers - Bahamas". Weight Watchers International. 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-07. "Research shows that people who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose three times more weight than those who diet on their own."
14. ^ Broughton, Sherri (July 2006). "Open Enrollment" (PDF). Weight Watchers International. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-06-07. "Research shows that people who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose three times more weight than people dieting on their own[.]"
15. ^ "Sell Sheet" (PDF). Weight Watchers International. October 2005. p. 1. Retrieved 2008-06-07. "It’s been proven that attending meetings leads to successful weight loss. Research shows that people who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose three times more weight than people dieting on their own."
16. ^ Heshka, Stanley; Anderson, James W.; Atkinson, Richard L.; Greenway, Frank L.; Hill, James O.; Phinney, Stephen D.; Kolotkin, Ronette L.; Miller-Kovach, Karen; Pi-Sunyer, F. Xavier (2003-04-09). "Weight Loss With Self-help Compared With a Structured Commercial Program: A Randomized Trial". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association (American Medical Association) 289 (14): 1792–1798. doi:10.1001/jama.289.14.1792. PMID 12684357. Retrieved 2008-06-06. "...[M]ean (SD) weight loss... in the commercial group was greater than in the self-help group at 1 year (-4.3 [6.1] kg vs -1.3 [6.1] kg, respectively...) and at 2 years (-2.9 [6.5] kg vs -0.2 [6.5] kg, respectively...)."
17. ^ "eTools, the Internet companion". Weight Watchers International. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-07. "People who both attend Weight Watchers meetings and use eTools lose over 50% more weight on average than those who attend weekly meetings alone. ...Weight loss data based on 12 week study comparing people who were instructed to attend Weight Watchers meetings and use eTools to people who were instructed to attend Weight Watchers meetings alone."
18. ^ Dansinger, Michael L.; Gleason, Joi Augustin; Griffith, John L.; Selker, Harry P.; Schaefer, Ernst J. (2005-01-05). "Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction: A Randomized Trial". JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association (American Medical Association) 293 (1): 43–53. doi:10.1001/jama.293.1.43. PMID 15632335. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
19. ^ Jennifer's Weight Watchers Story Retrieved 2010-04-01.
20. ^ "Jennifer Hudson is New Weight Watchers Spokeswoman - ABC News" Retrieved 2010-04-01.
21. ^ "Chilling Effects Notice". Retrieved 27 December 2010.
22. ^ "Weight Watchers Upends Its Points System". NY Times. 2010-12-03.
23. ^ "Frequent tipple cuts heart risk". BBC News. 2008-01-09.
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29. ^ ProPoints Calculator from 3rd Party Website Retrieved 2010-12-02.
30. ^ "Weight Watchers Points Formula". October 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
31. ^ a b WeightWatchers Pocket Guide 2010.
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