AARP is joining up with WW (formerly Weight Watchers).
First, I would like to point out that when a company with a very recognizable name decides to change that name, it usually means that there is so much negativity associated with the well known brand name that there is no longer enough goodwill associated with the name to make it worth maintaining.
We see you “WW”.
And just like calling a diet a “lifestyle choice” doesn’t make it any less of a diet; changing your name doesn’t change the fact that WW is still a company whose business plan is based on peddling a product that it knows is basically guaranteed to fail. WW couldn’t survive without repeat business; and it gets repeat business because its product, like all diets, does not lead to long term significant weight loss – it leads to short term weight loss, followed by regaining.
We see you WW.
Last year, WW tried to hook itself up with selling its diet to children and teens; and they were soundly taken to task for doing so.
So now they are looking to the other end of the rainbow (or the life cycle) by joining up with AARP.
The banner on the page is “Start Getting Healthy Today Compliments of AARP and WW.”
What a fucking load of bullshit.
Repeat after me. Your weight and your health are two different things.
This makes me angry because old people, except in rare, specific instances, do not need to lose weight.
As you get older, fat has many protective benefits; especially for people who have always been fat.
Also, after the age of 60 (some say as young as 50), there is no health benefit to weight loss. Any alleged “damage” fat may (or may not) have caused to your body has been done. Being fat no longer is associated with any increase in mortality risk; and, as I said above, fat can be protective.
So you can’t really say, you’re losing weight for your health.
At this point, you are only doing it for cosmetic reasons – and the results are not going to be great if that is your goal. As I have often pointed out, you can’t put a wrinkle in a bubble; but what happens when you let the air out of the balloon? I’m not trying to be ageist, I’m just saying that if you are losing weight because you buy into some kind of societal construct of beauty – unless you want to pop for the cosmetic surgery as well (which, by the way, Medicare isn’t going to pay for), you’re better off just being the kind of beautiful that you are.
Proper nutrition is also a big concern for us oldsters; so unless you are being directly supervised by a nutritionist or other healthcare professional, diets are not just tricky, they can be outright dangerous. Just like an antique car, you need a professional to help keep things running properly.
And then there is the mental aspect of dieting. It can lead to eating disorders. And yes, old AF people can develop (or renew long buried) eating disorders. Plus, the anxiety and depression that can occur when a diet fails and the dieter blames themselves instead of a product that is designed to fail.
And you have the cost. The cost of the merchandise WW peddles, the cost of membership / meetings, etc.
I am disappointed with AARP for not following evidence-based science when it comes to weight loss and old people.
And I am even more disappointed with AARP for joining up with con artists like Weight Watchers, oh, excuse me “WW”.
I urge members to reach out to AARP and let them know that you don’t appreciate AARP associating with WW and putting its members at risk financially, mentally, and physically.
You can write to them at
601 E Street, NW
Washington DC 20049
You can call them at 1-888-687-2277 (M-F, 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. ET)
You can text them at 1-833-259-2277
You can chat with an associate by clicking the CHAT icon on the right side of the screen on their website (M-F, 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET).
Shame on you AARP. You are old enough to know better; and if you’re not – your members certainly are.