NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2011 // PRNewswire // -- Weight Watchers International, Inc. today introduced National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Famer and current "NBA on TNT" studio analyst Charles Barkley as the ambassador of its new Weight Watchers for Men campaign. The dominant and outspoken former power forward and current television personality will appear in print, broadcast, and online marketing beginning December 25, 2011, as part of the new "Lose Like a Man" advertising platform. Losing will be a new role for someone who has focused for so long on winning, but Barkley is confident he can make the change.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 72.3% of U.S. men and 64.1% of women are overweight or obese. Despite the high prevalence of obesity among men, they are often overlooked by the weight loss industry. As an organization, Weight Watchers is making a strong commitment to help men lose weight and think about weight loss differently.
"Diet is not a man's word because we don't like to diet—we like to eat," said Barkley. "Like a lot of athletes, I've gained weight since I've retired. But, I don't want to be a fat, old man taking lots of pills. Weight Watchers is helping me change my lifestyle and learn how to make smarter eating choices anywhere I am."
Barkley has lost 27 pounds and is committed to reaching his personal goals. Given his success already, his broadcast buddies may have to start thinking of a new nickname, as "the round mound of rebound" might not fit much longer. With a travel schedule as busy as Barkley's, other diets or meal plans were too restrictive and unrealistic. Weight Watchers teaches Barkley and other men how to live and eat real food in the real world.
He attributes his success thus far to being able to continue enjoying the foods he loves and to incorporating more fruits and vegetables into his food choices, keeping him satisfied longer.
"I come from Alabama, a state that has struggled with obesity for years," said Barkley. "I mean it is the heart of the South – we love food. Now that I'm following Weight Watchers, I'm learning a whole new way to eat. Not only can I keep eating my favorites like meatballs and chicken wings, but I've discovered a world of new foods that are helping me to shed the pounds. I have eaten more fruit and vegetables in the past few months than I have in the past 30 years."
Weight Watchers is dedicated to applying the latest nutritional science to help men and women lose weight and keep it off. Because there are no required or pre-packaged foods, the flexibility of being able to eat what they like and still stay on plan makes it easy for guys to stay on track.
With Weight Watchers Online for Men, subscribers follow the Weight Watchers PointsPlus® plan in a distinctly male-oriented online environment. They can manage food intake, track weight-loss progress, find meal ideas and get tips and information tailored specifically for men. Content tailored for men focuses on topics including cooking and food ideas, gear and gadget reviews, tips from real guys who have been successful and more. In addition, men can find cheat sheets online that shorthand the PointsPlus values for the foods and drinks they want to continue eating, such as pizza, red meat and beer.
Men who attend meetings can also take advantage of male-oriented digital resources with Weight Watchers eTools (internet weight-loss companion) and mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android to help to track and manage their weight loss.
"We know that men hate the idea of dieting and approach losing weight differently," said Cheryl Callan, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Weight Watchers. "That's why adding Charles to the team was a slam dunk for us. He hopes to inspire guys who are struggling with their weight but may not have considered Weight Watchers as an option for men."
In the Lose Like a Man campaign, developed for Weight Watchers by McCann Erickson, Barkley provides commentary on topics including the "man food" he is never deprived of on Weight Watchers, reasons why guys don't diet, dieting on your own and being a role model. The campaign will also feature men who have successfully lost weight on Weight Watchers especially Weight Watchers Online for Men.
Ads will appear in sports and entertainment outlets ranging from ESPN and Turner Sports NBA broadcasts to SpikeTV and Comedy Central. The campaign will extend online via banner ads and through social media channels such as Facebook and YouTube.
Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world's leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds over 45,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behavior modification and physical activity. WeightWatchers.com provides innovative, subscription weight management products over the Internet and is the leading Internet-based weight management provider in the world. In addition, Weight Watchers offers a wide range of products, publications and programs for those interested in weight loss and weight control.
 Data are based on the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003–2006 and 2007–2008.
SOURCE Weight Watchers