How We Use Science at WeightWatchers®

Behavioral science sits at the heart of WW’s program and all in-app, in-person, and virtual experiences—learn more about how our experts use the best-in-class research.
Published February 1, 2021

WW is a behavior change organization, rooted in behavioral science. For nearly six decades, we have been dedicated to helping members make lasting changes. We focus on shifts in behavior, progress over perfection, and meeting members where they are right now. To ensure all solutions are grounded in the best possible research, our dedicated Science team works across the organization. Gary Foster, PhD, WW’s chief scientific officer leads the team in translating clinical research so it’s accessible and actionable for everyone.

“We help our members with not only what to do, but, crucially, how to do it. We know that many of our members come to us knowing what they want to do, but aren't sure how to make it happen. WW helps with the how. Lessons from behavioral science inform the foundation of our program and all our in-app, in-person, and virtual experiences.” - Gary Foster, PhD

Our behavioral scientists, psychologists, exercise specialists, and registered dietitians partner with colleagues in every division to establish new experiences, features, partnerships, and strategies in trusted clinical research. Here’s a deeper look at how we integrate science into everything we do:


We root our product strategy and feature development in behavioral science to ensure that our members learn how to change their behavior.

Our goal is to remove friction, simplify decisions, and help members work towards their personal goals—ultimately, making it easier for people to follow our program.

  • We use behavioral design practices to ensure that each aspect of the digital user flow and information architecture is crafted based on the science of behavioral economics and social psychology.
  • We are always learning and improving what we do. We apply behavioral research to the innovation process, helping to find the right solutions for our members based on the context and nuance of the behaviors they want to change.

Strategies & Techniques

We empower members to make sustainable behavior changes with the support of actionable techniques and strategies that are grounded in scientific research.

WW has over 100 science-backed techniques designed to help members make lasting changes in support of their weight and wellness journeys. Our techniques are based on public health recommendations, empirically-validated principles for behavior change and interventions from cognitive behavioral weight management treatments, acceptance-based interventions, and the positive psychology literature.

Every week, we feature one behavior change technique across digital and coaching experiences so that members have the ability to immerse themselves in the topic. earn the benefits and how to practice it in their lives to support their weight and wellness goals.

  • Each technique can be helpful at different points throughout their journey, so members can also explore them at any time through the WW app, website, or conversations with their Coach. The on-demand element enables members to engage with the technique that best suits their needs and helps them reach their goals—wherever they are right now.
  • Throughout the year, the Science team actively engages with the latest research in psychology, nutrition, exercise, sleep, and weight management to ensure techniques are based on the most recent science.
  • We select the cadence of behavior change techniques to teach members strategies for general behavior change, healthy eating, physical activity, mindset shifts, and sleep. When developing the weekly calendar, the team also leverages science-backed weight management programs like the Diabetes Prevention Program, Look Ahead, and LEARN.


We base our coaching approach on universal human behavior change needs.

We have comprehensive training for our thousands of coaches around the globe; building their coaching skills and empowering them to deliver the WW approach to coaching for behavior change.

  • We ground our WW Behavior Change Coaching approach in principles from client-centered strategies, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and the biopsychosocial model. This guides members toward making changes that will help them reach the weight loss and wellness goals that matter to them.

Visit the WW Science Center to learn more.