Why Offer a Weight Loss Program?

Obesity exacerbates many health problems and the healthcare costs for the obese tend to be higher than healthy weight individuals. However, to date insurers have not been allowed to charge different premiums based on the weight of the insured. In the United States the prevalence of obesity has been increasing at an alarming rate. Current estimates have two-thirds of Americans either overweight (34%) or obese (31%) . Although Health Risk Assessment (HRA) data will quantify the extent of the need for weight loss in a given employee pool, it is anticipated that the number will follow the same percentages as the general population. The prevalence of diabetes within the population, and those at risk for diabetes, suggests that weight loss may be the number one priority. A study found that gaining as few as 11 to 18 pounds can double the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Obesity is directly associated with a higher incidence of serious chronic conditions, including diabetes, asthma, arthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.

A study completed in 2005 of over 20,000 full-time employees by the Centers for Disease Control and RTI International (a non-profit think tank) found that each obese employee costs their employer anywhere from $460 to $2,500 annually in additional medical expenditures and work absences. More recent studies have shown that the actual costs are likely much higher.

Weight loss has been shown to lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and improve lipid levels. Research also shows that improving the health risk profile reduces healthcare costs and may improve productivity.

Weight loss programs that have the best outcomes are those that assist individuals in making necessary and sustainable modifications to their eating and exercise habits through medical supervision, individual diet modification, and frequent interaction with a medical professional.

Data also suggests that to maintain long-term weight loss it is critical for care providers to understand and address the underlying psychological issues that accompany obesity, and to develop a “therapeutic bond” to assist the patient as they modify their behavior and choices.

Please download our Physicians Packet for more information on our process.