WEIGHT WATCHERS VS. JENNY CRAIG 1
Ever wanted to lose weight? For about 71 million Americans, the answer is yes.2 For weight-loss companies, that’s the right answer. The weight-loss industry, worth over $46 billion in 2004, is growing steadily because lifestyles and food choices are working against the desire to lose weight. Most Americans spend their days sitting in front of a computer and their evenings
sitting in front of a television. Restaurant meals, prepared foods, and high-fat/ high-sugar snacks have replaced home-cooked meals, whole grains, and fresh produce. These habits are fattening profits for the weight-loss industry as well as expanding belt sizes, and by the time you factor in diet pills, specially packaged weight-loss meals and snacks, diet programs, and the whole range of products and services promising bathing-suit bodies, you’ve got a market projected to be worth $586.3 billion annually.3 Two recognized diet behemoths, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, share a substantial piece of the pie. Both stress flexibility to fit a wide range of lifestyles, and both showcase their success stories. But each approaches dieting differently in their quest for new members.
THE BIG TWO
Founded in 1963, Weight Watchers International now boasts groups in over 30 countries worldwide. The program encourages members to track their daily food intake, exercise, hunger levels, and emotions related to eating. Dieters record meals and snacks in a paper or electronically based journal. All foods are assigned point values, calculated based on calories, fat, and fiber, and members have a daily point allotment based on individual weight and lifestyle. Although members can follow the Weight Watchers regimen without support, the company notes that the most successful members are those who weigh in at weekly group sessions and attend meetings. During these half-hour meetings, a group leader discusses a particular topic, like holiday eating,...