Updated 20 October 2015

Oprah throws her weight behind Weight Watchers

Diet giant Weight Watchers was on a steady way down when media tycoon Oprah Winfrey decided to get behind them and invest half a Billion Rand in the company. Overnight, shares in the diet company rocketed by 90%.


Oprah Winfrey will buy 10 % of Weight Watchers and is set to serve on the the company’s Board of Directors  in the hopes that her star status will take the struggling weightloss giant to new heights.

In recent years dieters have snubbed Weight Watchers in favour of other, cheaper dieting programmes that have a large online presence.

However, her announcement on Monday caused the company’s shares to sky rocket by 90%.

Ms Winfrey believes in the product

Her investment, which totals some R 567 Mil ($43.2 Mil),  comes with the option to buy 5% more at a later stage.

As part of the transaction, Winfrey also signed up to the Weight Watchers programme where she will share her experiences and milestones, having struggled with her weight in the past. “I believe in the product” Winfrey said.

Oprah will also serve as a consultant to assist with the further development the programme. Weight Watchers needed the boost desperately, as they were struggling with a decrease in sales and profits with users opting to use free and digital calorie counting apps to lose weight.

Weight Watchers was started by a New York housewife in the late 1960s, with the core function of  developing low-fat eating plans, food products and support groups for anyone wanting to lose weight.

Weight Watchers has a cult following

The diet has something of a cult following and counts Hollywood A-listers Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson as fans. Simpson lost more than 22 kilograms after giving birth to her son Ace in 2013, but has since cut ties with the company.

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, who was a former ambassador for Weight Watchers, also famously lost 22kgs on the diet.

Weight Watchers, according to their website, works by assigning every food a PointsPlus® value based on its protein, carbohydrate fat and fibre content. It takes into account how your body processes food and nudges you toward healthier options. The company will now also focus on wellness and inspire dieters via a Weight Watchers app.

Read more: 

Weight Watchers works twice as well  

Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig beat other diets 

Weigh Less vs Weight Watchers



Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Live healthier

Mental health & your work »

How open are you about mental illness in the workplace?

Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help

If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips.

Sleep & You »

Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia

6 things that are sabotaging your sleep

Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.