Pounds for pounds

A new study from the UK in Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism details how much policy-makers might consider paying per person for behavioural weight loss programs (no medication, just diet, exercise, coaching, etc). This was a meta-analysis (study of multiple other studies) pooling data from 155 publications. Here’s what they found:

  • On average, behavioural weight loss programs result in a 2.8kg (6 pound) weight loss compared to control groups.
  • The rate of weight regain after the program is 0.12-0.36kg/year, taking about 5 years to get back to baseline.
  • The positive effects on quality of life lasted longer; up to 9 years.
  • Their cost-analysis states that these programs could be worth the price if delivered for 560 British pounds ($932 CAD) or less

The take home here is that for less than $1000 CAD, people could receive an effective weight loss program with benefits that last 5-10 years. This is for a one-time cost, making this sound like an excellent return on investment. What’s more, is that this cost analysis did not attempt to quantify the potential downstream savings from reduced chronic disease incidence, medical costs, and so on.

The future health of society and sustainability of health care depends on investing in prevention. Studies like this may help policy-makers and funders see that a small investment now may save massive costs later.

Be well.