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The Real Cost of a Weight Loss Program

While a good quality, long term, evidence based, medically supervised weight loss program requires a financial investment (in addition to the investment of time and effort into making small, consistent diet and lifestyle changes) many people are not aware that there are also financial and non-monetary costs associated with being overweight.

In 2010, researchers at George Washington University conducted a study to attempt to figure out the most accurate estimate of these costs. The findings shed light on the increase in annual costs for things like medical care, time off work, sick days, and life insurance rates. Not included but mentioned in the study were costs associated with having to purchase new clothing, special furniture, and the non-monetary costs associated with decreased health and quality of life in general.

The results are summarized below:


Annual costs associated with being overweight or obese (compared to healthy weight controls)1. Costs increase as the degree of excess body weight increases.

Direct Costs (Health Care Costs): $350-1500 per year

Health problems associated with excess body fat include: Sleep apnea, Diabetes, Hypertension, Heart disease, Thyroid problems, PCOS, Arthritis, Depression, Fatty liver disease, Arthritis, and more…

  • Increased need for surgeries

  • Increased medical tests/imaging (ultrasounds for fatty liver disease, PCOS, diabetes monitoring, cholesterol monitoring, gallbladder imaging, x-rays/MRI for joint pain, etc.)

  • Medications and medical devices (i.e. CPAP machine)

  • Life Expectancy Costs: Overweight or obese individuals have 1-5 years decreased life expectancy

  • Does not include additional costs associated with decreased quality of life

Indirect Costs: $200-3000$ per year

  • Wages

  • Disability

  • Sick days/Time off

  • Increased life insurance rates

TOTAL: $550-$4500 PER YEAR!

Non-monetary costs of being overweight:

  • Social stigmatization

  • Decreased energy, decreased cardiovascular capacity (getting tired very easily)

  • Decreased mood

  • Overall decreased quality of life

  • Increased risk of developing a serious health condition

Adjusted Cost of the Nourish Healthy Weight Loss Program

Before Adjustment:


  • $1250*

* Cost may be fully or partially covered by extended health insurance.


After Adjustment:


  • [Cost of program – Average annual cost associated with being overweight or obese]

  • $700 up to a savings of $2800 in one year.(depends on individual weight and risk factors).


  • Yes, you actually SAVE money in the long term by achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.


  • Additional grocery savings on a plant based diet = $500-750 per year! 2


  1. A Heavy Burden: The Individual Costs of Being Overweight and Obese in the United States. The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services Department of Health Policy. September 21, 2010.

  2. Mary M. Flynn, Andrew R. Schiff. Economical Healthy Diets (2012): Including Lean Animal Protein Costs More Than Using Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition, 2015; 10 (4): 467.

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