Margaret Whittaker OBE with her award. | Slimming World


Leading Mallorcan businesswoman Margaret Whittaker OBE has been named overall Business Woman of the Year at the National Business Women’s awards, as well as winning the Business Woman of the Year for a large business category.

Margaret, who owns Son Amar and is also the founder of the UK and Ireland’s leading weight management organisation Slimming World, collected the award, which was created to recognise women who have achieved significant accomplishments in their career, honouring inspiring innovators and visionaries, at a prestigious event held in London.

Margaret’s commitment and dedication to helping people to live healthier lives was praised by the judges.

Founding Slimming World at just 21 after struggling with her own weight, Margaret launched her first slimming group in 1969 in a church hall in Alfreton, Derbyshire, where the company is still based. Her approach introduced a revolutionary, generous, nutritionally balanced and flexible eating plan based on everyday healthy foods, designed to help people lose weight without ever going hungry.

She says: “Weight management programmes in the 60s were based on shame, guilt, and deprivation. I wanted to build a programme based on empowerment and kindness. Integrity, warmth, genuine care for others and humour are qualities which have always been at the heart of Slimming World.

“I’m immensely proud to have been recognised with this award. I’m accepting it not just for myself though, but for our dedicated managers and staff, for the big-hearted Consultants who run our groups all over the UK and Ireland, and for our wonderful members who transform their lives with our support, too.”

In line with her original vision and under her leadership, Slimming World has helped millions of people live healthier, happier lives. In 2009, Margaret was awarded an OBE for services to healthcare and charity. She has seen the company grow to support hundreds of thousands of members each week, as well as creating opportunities for thousands as franchisee Consultants and staff.

Today, Slimming World holds more than 13,000 weekly sessions in community weight loss groups across the UK and Ireland, alongside an online programme for those wishing to use digital support to lose weight.

Slimming World’s dietary approach has always been based on the latest research and this continues to be a focus for the company, with a significant project underway with the University of Leeds to examine the links between psychology, satiety, appetite control and perceptions of food groups.

Professor James Stubbs, Professor of Appetite and Energy Balance at the School of Psychology, University of Leeds, says: “I have known Margaret personally for over 30 years. I’ve always been impressed by her generosity and immense interest, fascination, curiosity, and commitment to scientific research. She has generously funded a number of science studies within the obesity sector which seek out answers to scientific questions that benefit the health and well-being of the nation.”

As well as Margaret’s commitment in helping people to live healthier, happier lives by losing weight, she’s incredibly passionate about supporting healthcare charities to further their research.

Professor Christian Ottensmeier, Professor of Immuno-Oncology Head and Neck Center, Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool, says: “Margaret is a truly remarkable person who has made and continues to make enormous contributions to the health of the nation. Through Slimming World, Margaret has raised many millions of pounds to support Cancer Research UK and a multitude of other charities.”