Losing Weight Is Losing Ground in the Stock Market

These companies have slimmed down drastically in the past year. Their new look isn’t at all flattering.

Herbalife Nutrition Medifast and WW International (formerly known as Weight Watchers) are all in the business of helping their customers shed unwanted pounds—a perennial battle that people in the developed world are slowly losing. About 70% of Americans are obese or overweight. The pandemic presented both a unique challenge and opportunity for companies that rely on human intermediaries to sell those products and services. On the one hand, in-person meetings were hampered. On the other hand, the dreaded “Covid 15” weight gain was thought to be creating pent-up demand—the inverse of the boom and bust that home-exercise equipment makers such as Peloton experienced.