T.O.P.S. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly)
TOPSŪ is a non-profit
international family of all ages, sizes,and shapes from all walks of life. Dedicated to helping each other Take Off and Keep
Off Pounds Sensibly.
We offer fellowship while you change
to a healthier, new lifestyle and learn to maintain it.
Description: TOPSŪ (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the oldest international, non-profit,
non-commercial weight-loss support group.
Founded: 1948 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Esther Manz.
Mission Statement: TOPS mission is to support our members as they take and keep
off pounds sensibly.
Chapter program components: Weekly meetings include private weigh-ins and a program.
Program provides members with positive reinforcement and motivation to adhere to food and exercise plans.
Membership: 230,000 members in 10,300 chapters in the U.S., Canada and other countries
Membership fees: $20 annually, $25 in Canada + nominal chapter fees (varies from
$.50 to $1 per week to cover chapter costs.)
Fabulous Figures: In 2002, TOPS U.S. members lost 1,080,334 pounds; TOPS Canadian
members lost 243,842 pounds; international members lost 1,801 pounds for a grand total of 1,325,977 pounds or 662 tons!
Organization: A nine-member board of directors administers TOPS.
Field Staff: Assisting TOPS volunteer chapter leaders is a field staff of 13 Regional
Directors, 139 Coordinators, and 453 Area Captains.
TOPS Experts: TOPS has experts in the field of medical research, nutrition, fitness,
TOPS Ambassadors: TOPS Ambassadors are real-life weight-loss experts who have achieved
and maintained their goal weight and speak across the country “spreading the word” about TOPS.
TOPS also offers: a lifestyle guide “The Choice Is Yours”; TOPS retreats, rallies and recognition
days; TOPS NEWS, a membership magazine; and educational brochures for the public.
Research: Since 1966, TOPS has funded an obesity and metabolic research program at the
Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and supports ongoing research there. To date, 5.4 million dollars from TOPS earnings
and member contributions have helped fund obesity research.
Current Obesity Statistics: (Source: Centers for Disease Control)
•61% of adults in the U.S. are considered overweight; 26% are considered obese.
•The percentage of children and adolescents who are overweight has doubled in the last 30 years.
•Each year, 300,000 deaths are attributable to poor diet and inactivity.
•Health care costs related to an unhealthy weight and sedentary lifestyle are more than $117 billion
•TOPSŪ Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the oldest non-profit, non-commercial weight-loss
•TOPS is an established and well-respected organization, founded in 1948.
•TOPS’ philosophy is that desire to change comes from within an individual and the most effective
way to sustain change is to provide a supporting environment.
•TOPS is different from commercial weight-loss organizations:
—members get their food plan and exercise plans from their personal physician or licensed
health care professional
—TOPS does not endorse any commercial food product and is non-profit
•TOPS is affordable. Dues are $20 per year in the U.S. and $25 in Canada.
•TOPS is a leading supporter of obesity research.
• 1948 TOPS is founded by Esther Manz.
• 1949 First issue of TOPS NEWS contains 3 mimeographed pages.
• 1952 TOPS articles of incorporation state TOPS commitment to finding a cure for obesity.
• 1954 First national convention held in Chicago at the American Medical Association
• 1955 First Canadian chapter founded in Hamilton, Ontario
• 1966 TOPS writes a check to fund obesity research at Milwaukee’s Deaconess Hospital.
• 1980 TOPS publishes a nutrition monograph.
• 1994 The TOPS Center for Obesity and Metabolic Research at the Medical College of
Wisconsin is dedicated and the first phase of the MRC-OB (Medical Risks and Complications of Obesity Genes Project) research
study begins with the development of a questionnaire to record family histories.
• 1995 Third phase of MRC-OB study begins; 400 biologic sisters and their families are
screened in 4 states.
• 1997 Information from more than 500 families and over 2,500 individuals is obtained
for the MRC-OB study—the largest collection for a study of this kind.
• 2000 MRC-OB researchers report they have discovered an area on human chromosome-3
that may hold the key to understanding the genetic basis for obesity.