Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Weight Management Center

Healthy Living

The Cost of Obesity

The Cost of Obesity

Treatments such as weight loss surgery and medical weight management are proven to be effective, and help hundreds of thousands of people regain their health each year. Still, more than 60 million Americans – one third of the population - remain obese. This number directly correlates with the dramatic rise in diabetes and high blood pressure over the past few decades. When making the choice between living with obesity and undergoing medical or surgical treatment, most people cite one factor: the cost of treatment. With economic concerns increasing worldwide, obesity treatment seems like a "luxury" to a large number of people.

When considering the actual cost of treatment, it's important to look at another reality: the comparatively higher costs of obesity and obesity-related complications.

  • Lost wages and higher expenses are an often-overlooked result of obesity. According to the National Institute of Health, those who are obese miss more work on average while spending more on gasoline and food each year.
  • Health care costs, including out-of-pocket expenses, for managing diabetes are 2.3 times higher than for a patient without diabetes. (Statistic provided by the American Diabetes Association)
  • Over a lifetime, medications and treatments for high blood pressure can cost patients more on average than their out-of-pocket cost for obesity treatment. A single treatment for a major complication of high blood pressure, such as heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, gallbladder disease and other conditions, often costs more than obesity treatment – in some cases, twice as much.
  • The World Health Organization estimated that in 2002, approximately 2.6 million deaths worldwide could be directly attributed to obesity. That is a major reason why obesity and related conditions often result in higher health insurance premiums and higher life insurance premiums.

Most insurance companies now cover procedures such as bariatric surgery for obese patients. If you are a candidate for weight loss surgery, the Weight Management Center is a strong advocate for you in obtaining coverage from your provider. Our experts know that obesity treatment is a medical necessity, not a cosmetic procedure – and this treatment also saves your health insurance provider money in the long run.

Medical Weight Management is the safest, most cost-effective nonsurgical treatment for obesity available. Many commercial diet programs cost the same (or more), yet require you to do the bulk of the work on your own without real-life education, support or medical supervision. Because of the lack of insurance coverage for medical weight management, our center has created a flat-rate package system to reduce your costs for this program.

Of course, the greatest benefit of obesity treatment cannot be measured in dollars: an increase in the quality - and quantity - of your years of life. To learn more about how the Weight Management Center at Houston Methodist Hospital can help you, please register for a free, no-obligation information session by calling 832-667-LOSE (5673) or registering online.