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The woman who founded Weight Watchers has died aged 91

She used her own weight battles to inspire her work.

Nidetch pictured in 2011
Nidetch pictured in 2011
Image: AP/Press Association Images

JEAN NIDETCH (91), a woman whose own weight battles led her to found the global corporate juggernaut Weight Watchers, has died.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in October 1923, Nidetch tried and failed throughout her early life to slim down.

Years of binge-eating and fad diets left her weighing more than 200 pounds (90 kilos) before her 40th birthday.

Creating a system

Nidetch came up with a system in which she periodically met with a group of her friends who were also interested in losing weight, charting their progress and offering encouragement at their regular check-ins.

The approach worked like a charm for Nidetch, who ended up shedding 72 pounds (33 kilos).

She founded Weight Watchers in 1963, which focused on losing weight sensibly and gradually, with the support of others also trying to do the same — a system which quickly gained popularity throughout the United States and beyond.

Jean Nidetch Source: AP/Press Association Images

Today, the company she founded in her New York home is the world’s most successful commercial provider of weight management services, with an expansive network of company and franchise-owned operations and products, and millions of dedicated adherents around the globe.

“Jean was an inspiration and an innovator who leaves behind a legacy and program that has positively impacted the health and well-being of millions of people around the world,” said Jim Chambers, the company’s current president and CEO.

It is our honour and responsibility to carry on her legacy to help more people to transform their lives.

The company said Nidetch died at her home in Parkland, Florida, and is survived by a son, David Nidetch and three grandchildren.

- © AFP, 2015

Read: This poorly placed Weight Watchers sign would ruin all your good intentions>

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