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What is the potential cost of not having WLS?

WEIGHT LOSS MANAGEMENT

Weight Loss Surgery procedures do come with a large price tag and for a lot of patients the figure can be very discouraging.

Something that is not as obvious to most, is what the potential cost of not having the surgery could be.

Weight loss surgery is the only proven solution to achieve sustainable weight loss, yet only approximately 2% of suitable candidates are seeking surgery to combat their battle with obesity.This indicates that only 2% of obese adults in Australia are committed to improving their health, reducing or eliminating their risk of disease and extending their life expectancy.

Fear of the social stigma, fear of failing and the cost involved, are just a few of the reasons why so many are sticking to more conventional weight loss strategies and shying away from surgery.

To put it into perspective; A BMI of more than 35 incurs $3,000-$10,000 in annual health care costs.

The diagram shown below by Chemist Warehouse elaborates further and gives a very good idea on what the cost of not maintaining a healthy weight could be in your lifetime. 

 

 

First, let’s take a look at disease risk.

Weight loss surgery is associated with an 11% reduction in heart attack risk and a 29% reduction in type 2 diabetes. It is also proven to help with sleep apnoea and mental health. But, delaying bariatric surgery by just three years may lead to a loss of clinical benefits and a reduced life expectancy.

There is fear that Australian’s are becoming de-sensitised to what obesity looks like. With over 60% of the Australian population being overweight or obese, it’s easy to feel a healthy weight among society even when the BMI indicates otherwise. The reality is, that the higher the BMI, the shorter the life expectancy, and the lower the chances are of ever reversing existing weight related health conditions such as sleep apnoea and type 2 diabetes. 

Now let’s look at the impact delaying surgery has on life expectancy.

A BMI over 30 results in a 50%-100% increased risk of premature death compared to individuals of healthy weight.

Moderate obesity (BMI 30-35) reduces life expectancy by 3 years while morbid obesity (BMI over 40) reduces life expectancy by 10 years.

It is true that the decision to have weight loss surgery will mean spending more money on items such as new clothing, dietary supplements, fitness and check-up appointments. But significant cost savings will be noticed in food bills, medication and medical bills.

Bariatric surgery pays off in the long-term, money wise and health wise.