Jean Evelyn Nidetch (October 12, 1923 – April 29, 2015) was an American business entrepreneur who was the co-founder of Weight Watchers.
Jean was an overweight housewife who admitted an obsession for eating cookies. While in a grocery store, she ran into a neighbor, who mistakenly thought she was pregnant. This sparked her to lose weight.
Nidetch had tried numerous fad diets before she followed a regimen prescribed by a diet clinic sponsored by the New York City Board of Health in 1961. Jean lost over 20 pounds (9.07 kg), but was finding her resolve weakening. She contacted some of her friends that were overweight and began a support group in her apartment.
The meetings got larger, within a couple of months, 40 friends were turning up to provide mutual help and support.
This group developed into weekly classes, and was incorporated on May 15, 1963 into Weight Watchers.
When her business went public in 1968, it made her and her fellow founders millionaires.
In 1978, Weight Watchers was sold to the H. J. Heinz Company. Nidetch remained a consultant to the organization.
All over the world men and women have followed the advice of Mrs. Jean Nidetch. A self described former fat housewife, Jean’s advice to dieters was simple: “Drop the da_n fork”.
She died on April 29, 2015, in Parkland, Florida at the age of 91.
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