Jean Nidetch (born 'Jean Slutsky' on October 12, 1923) is the cofounder of the Weight Watchers organization.
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.
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.
- Jean Nidetch at PBS.org
- Jean Nidetch at HoratioAlger.org
- The History of Weight Watchers at DWLZ.com
- Jean Nidetch Biography at yourdictionary.com
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