Weight Watchers will offer teens aged 13 to 17 free memberships This specific summer as part of its plan to help 10 million people adopt healthy habits as well as grow its revenue to more than $2 billion by 2020.
Weight Watchers reported $1.16 billion in revenue at the end of 2016.
The company said the idea is usually rebranding to focus itself on the purpose of “inspiring healthy habits for real life,” CEO Mindy Grossman said Wednesday. The move mirrors a trend within the health as well as wellness industry toward overall wellness as people shun diets.
Weight Watchers recently unveiled WWFreeStyle with spokeswoman Oprah Winfrey. The brand new plan is usually more flexible than previous programs. Carb-cutting plan Atkins announced a similar approach last month.
Weight Watchers also announced Wednesday the idea might remove artificial ingredients through its branded food products.
Shares of Weight Watchers soared 16 percent on Wednesday. They’ve surged about 490 percent over the last year.
Another element of its plan, attracting young brand new members, could draw criticism.
Weight Watchers said the idea wants to partner with families to establish healthy habits by offering free memberships to help “the development of healthy habits at a critical life stage,” the idea said in a press Discharge ahead of its global employee event on Wednesday.
Teens will be required to go to one of its meeting locations which has a parent or guardian who will provide consent. Weight Watchers said the idea will share more specific criteria as well as guidelines when the idea launches the program.
“We think there’s a real opportunity to make an impact on a problem which is usually not currently being addressed effectively,” a Weight Watchers spokeswoman told CNBC.
Federal as well as local governments have tried to tackle adolescent obesity, which continues to plague the U.S. though its prevalence has leveled off. Efforts have focused on getting teens to drop processed foods as well as sugary drinks while getting them to move more.
Encouraging teens to count calories as well as diet is usually dangerous, said Tomi Akanbi, clinical nutrition coordinator at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. She sees patients who adopt their parents’ weight-loss plans, not realizing which teens need to eat certain foods to help them grow.
When teens focus on calories, she said, they tend to skip meals as well as eat too little or replace them with empty calories through sugary sources like soda. Instead, she encourages teens to create a diet which’s heavy in fruits, vegetables, protein as well as grains as well as void of refined starches as well as sugars, mixed with at least an hour of daily exercise.
“Weight Watchers truly is usually dieting as well as focusing on just weight, as well as research has shown when the focus is usually on weight as well as dieting in teens, which is usually not an effective way to promote as well as sustain weight loss,” Akanbi said. “the idea’s not even helpful to promote overall wellness because we’re also talking about body image as well as how these kids are experiencing themselves as well as food as well as their bodies, as well as dieting does not help with which.”
On the far end of the spectrum, she said, counting calories as well as focusing on weight can lead to eating disorders. Advocates have pushed to improve body image among teens, especially teenaged girls.
In a statement, the National Eating Disorders Association said the idea’s “very concerned” about Weight Watchers’ promotion because many dieters develop disordered eating as well as teens are at an especially vulnerable stage of life.
“Young people should be encouraged to appreciate their bodies, not sign up for a diet program. If Weight Watchers is usually truly committed to encouraging “healthy habits” among youth, we ask them to cancel This specific promotion as well as consider the potentially life-threatening effects of putting kids on diet plans,” a spokeswoman said.