Jean Nidetch

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Jean Nidetch
Born Jean Slutsky
October 1923 (age 91)
Brooklyn, New York
Nationality American
Education City College of New York
Occupation businesswoman
Known for Weight Watchers

Jean Nidetch (born 'Jean Slutsky' on October 12, 1923) is the cofounder of the Weight Watchers organization.

Early life[edit]

Nidetch was born in Brooklyn, New York, to David Slutsky, a cab driver, and Mae Slutsky, a manicurist. Nidetch could not attend college, despite a partial scholarship to Long Island University, due to a lack of financial resources. Instead, Nidetch enrolled in a business course at City College of New York. When her father died in 1942, Nidetch dropped out and started working.


Nidetch's first job was at the Mullin Furniture Company in Jamaica, New York. She later worked for Man O'War Publishing Company and the Internal Revenue Service. Nidetch met her husband at the IRS.

An overweight housewife with a self-confessed obsession for eating meat, Nidetch had experimented with numerous fad diets before, in 1961, following a regimen prescribed by a diet clinic sponsored by the New York City Board of Health. After losing 20 pounds (9.07 kg), and finding her resolve weakening, she contacted several overweight friends and founded a support group which developed into weekly classes, and incorporated on May 15, 1963, into the Weight Watchers organization.

In 1978, Weight Watchers was sold to the H. J. Heinz Company. Nidetch, who remains a consultant to the organization, has established scholarship programs at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.