People who are extremely heavy often go through surgery to deal with the problem. Surgery is risky and the procedure isn't 100% effective, so it is encouraging that an alternative that is reasonably successful exits. This clearly won't work for everyone, but it is an interesting and less expensive option
Subjects in Why WAIT were able to cut their diabetes medications by half on average at the end of the 12 week program. It saved them $561 a year on diabetes medications alone, he said. Based on other valid cost-effective analysis, patients in the program saved $2,000 per year or 27 percent on overall health care costs and around $1,000 or 44 percent on diabetes-related costs, he added.
Dr. Hamdy said the study proves that intensive lifestyle intervention is at least as effective as some common bariatric surgeries in helping people lose weight and deal with their diabetes issues, with less cost and fewer short and long-term side effects.
"Surgery carries a lot of long-term risks," he said. "And a significant number of surgical patients gain their weight back after one or two years."
He also said that bariatric surgery costs in the range of $20,000 while the optimal intensive lifestyle intervention through the Why WAIT model cost just $2,700. After those results, "we are ready to debate them on the long-term value," he added.
He concluded: "So many physicians have been telling the governmental authorities that weight loss in clinical practice is a waste of money and that they will never keep the weight off. We now have a message for them. It is very effective in at least half of people in terms of weight loss and cost savings. Intensive lifestyle intervention can be a very valid option."
Of course prevention makes much more sense, but less expensive treamment options are important as the epidemic continues.