ENTERPRISE: Fortune from Fat

In late 1961 Mrs. Jean Nidetch, then a compulsive eater and an equally nonstop talker, decided to use one of her characteristics to combat the other. She began holding meetings with overweight neighbors, during which they encouraged each other to stick to diets. As the 48-year-old Mrs. Nidetch never tires of relating, that was the start of a new life that has transformed her from a 214-lb. Queens, N.Y., housewife into a trim 142-lb. career woman. It also was the beginning of a multinational business, Weight Watchers International, that is gaining financial weight...

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