Early Members

The TOPS Story

As a nonprofit, noncommercial wellness organization, TOPS has helped millions to Take Off Pounds Sensibly since 1948. Here’s how we did it, with small steps leading to big achievements.

Esther Manz and three homemakers start TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly).
First Tops MemberTOPS boasts its first KOPS (a member who has reached weight goal and can Keep Off Pounds Sensibly).

LIFE magazine features Esther Manz. The year ends with members in every state—6,000 members total!
Esther Manz turns down a $1 million offer to “buy” TOPS, vowing to forever put people before profits.
US and Canadian FlagsTOPS goes international with the first Canadian chapter.
TOPS contributes $250,000 ($1.8 million in today’s dollars) to begin the Obesity and Metabolic Research Program.
Santa Catalina, CAThe first retreat for TOPS members takes place on Catalina Island, California.
Tops Center for Obesity and Metabolic Research The TOPS Center for Obesity and Metabolic Research is dedicated at The Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. To date, TOPS has donated more than $8.5 million for obesity research.
An independent study published in the journal Obesity followed 42,500 members over three years and found TOPS works as well as commercial weight-loss programs—but costs less.
Before and After Photo of TOPS Member who lost 300lbs.A TOPS member loses 300 lbs.—a first!

TOPS and the Medical College of Wisconsin announce the discovery of two new genes that may influence obesity.

Members from all across North America will convene in Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, to celebrate TOPS members' successes during International Recognition Days in July. Together, TOPS members lost more than 300 tons last year!

For more detailed history of TOPS, please read more about TOPS.