Though health and nutrition professionals design the Weight Watchers program, individuals are not offered professional guidance; instead they must rely on printed materials, group leaders, and other members for advice and problem solving. A recent report suggested that while dieters using Weight Watchers for a full year lost an average of 5% of their body weight, other dieters using Atkins, Zone, or very-low-fat diets lost the same amount. Therefore, the cost of membership in Weight Watchers, while not as high as some other commercial programs, might seem unnecessary when other weight-loss plans may be available either free or for the price of a single book.
Furthermore, regular weigh-ins at group meetings may make some people uncomfortable, and some health authorities believe that focusing on weight instead of overall health can lead to unhealthy dieting practices. Weight watchers does, however, offer their program completely online, which allows people to participate in the program without the face-to-face weekly weigh-ins.