Weight Watchers will extend its services to teens beginning summer 2018

Weight Watchers, the popular program to help adults lose weight, now plans to offer its services to teens.Teens can start signing up for Weight Watchers this summer. 

10 News spoke with a group of women who are all members of the local Weight Watchers program.
They think it's a great idea that Weight Watchers will offer its services to teens.

"Weight Watchers is the diet that encourages you to eat healthy, chose from all the food groups, and have a well-balanced diet," said Weight Watcher member Ruth Vernon. 

Teens 13 to 17 will be able to get a free membership. A Weight Watchers spokesperson tells us that the guidelines for participating in the program will be released closer to summer.

"I think teenagers will benefit and I don't think there is any harm because again it's not just a diet, “ said Weight Watcher member Kristin Farwig. “We have an obesity problem in this country so it will be good for them." 

Sarah Bishop, mental health and substance abuse therapist for Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, deals with many clients who suffer from mental illness and eating disorders. She says that if a teen chooses to participate in the Weight Watchers program it must be by their choice.

"Something to keep in mind if someone chooses to participate in the Weight Watchers program is to be mindful of their internal motivation,” said Bishop. “They must ask themselves, why are they in this program and do they have enough emotional support and is the environment a nurturing one."

Weight Watchers International released this statement saying the following. 

"Our goal is to help those who need healthy habits to develop them at this critical life-stage; this is not about dieting. This summer, teens will be able to join Weight Watchers for free and can continue their membership through age 17.

 "They will be required to go to one of our meeting locations for their parent/guardian to provide consent, as we know a family-based approach is critical at this age. We have and will continue to talk with healthcare professionals about specific criteria and guidelines as we get ready to launch this program. We think there’s a real opportunity to make an impact on a problem that is not currently being addressed effectively."