NEW YORK - Aug. 6, 2013 // PRNewswire // - Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW) today announced the appointment of Gary D. Foster, Ph.D., as Co-Chief Scientific Officer. With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Foster will partner with company veteran and lead creator of the PointsPlus® program and Weight Watchers International Co-Chief Scientific Officer Karen Miller-Kovach, MS, RD, in overseeing the company's science-based program, all clinical research initiatives, and continued program advances. Reporting to President and CEO Jim Chambers, Dr. Foster will also serve as a member of the Weight Watchers Executive Committee.
Dr. Foster previously was the Founder and Director of the Center of Obesity Research and Education and Laura Carnell Professor of Medicine, Public Health and Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. Prior to Temple, he served as a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He has authored or coauthored more than 160 scientific publications and three books on the etiology and treatment of obesity. Dr. Foster's research interests include the prevention, behavioral determinants, treatments, and effects of obesity in adults and children. Dr. Foster earned his B.A. in Psychology from Duquesne University, M.S. in Psychology from University of Pennsylvania, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Temple University.
"Dr. Foster is highly regarded in the scientific community for his research on the prevention and treatment of obesity and his expertise in behavior change," said Chambers. "The addition of Dr. Foster to our dedicated team of science and nutrition experts demonstrates our continued commitment to an evidence-based approach to weight loss as well as our strategic focus on growth by expanding our proven approach within the healthcare marketplace."
Nearly a third of U.S. adults today are obese(1) and that number will rise to almost half of U.S. men and women by 2030 based on this trajectory(2). Weight Watchers remains committed to working with the scientific and public health communities by continuing to combat obesity in the United States and abroad. Weight Watchers is ranked number one for "Best Weight Loss Diet," "Easiest Diet to Follow," and "Best Commercial Diet Plan" by U.S. News and World Report in 2013 Best Diets rankings, underscoring the efficacy of the company's approach to weight loss and health: an evidence-based program backed by more than 80 publications over the past 15 years coupled with the latest in nutrition and behavior science.
"Obesity is a public health issue of global concern, and Weight Watchers has always maintained an unwavering commitment to a science-based approach to weight management," said Dr. Foster. "I am honored to join the Weight Watchers team and look forward to working with Karen Miller-Kovach and other talented colleagues to ensure Weight Watchers continues to be at the forefront in obesity and weight management science and research. It's exciting to have the opportunity to translate the latest science into practical and livable approaches that can help people to lose weight and learn to keep it off."
Dr. Foster's recent research topics include the effects of weight loss on diabetes and sleep, and the prevention of obesity in school and community settings. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His research on the school-based prevention of obesity (Pediatrics, 2008) was cited by the American Heart Association as one of the top 10 advances in cardiovascular research in 2008. He also has clinical experience treating overweight patients in individual and group settings for more than 25 years. Dr. Foster also frequently presents at scientific meetings worldwide and has received numerous awards and honors, including: serving as President of the Obesity Society (2008), receiving an Honorary Membership from the American Dietetic Association, and recognition for his Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association.
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 more than 40,000 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.
(1): Ogden C, Carroll M, Kit B, Flegal K. Prevalence of Obesity in the United States, 2009–2010. CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(2): F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012. Trust for America's Health. September 2012. Page 3.
SOURCE Weight Watchers International, Inc.