ABC News aired a story about Duke University comparing the costs and effectiveness of three diet programs and three weight loss prescription medications. Weight Watchers came out on top with the price of $155 per kilogram lost (2.2 pounds).
“If you are about to embark on a major weight loss attempt, there is more than just the number on the scale to consider. You want to make your money matter,” says ABC News’ senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
The average annual cost of Weight Watchers was $377, and users lost an average of 5.3 pounds, according to the study. Our resident nutrition expert, Mary Hartley, RD, comments that as diet plans go, “Weight Watchers is good for providing peer support, basic nutrition education, and flexibility to individualize food selections.” Though she warns that it is still a “diet” with the external focus of translating food into other quantifiable values.
This means people have two different mentalities of what they can eat when they are either “on the diet” or “off the diet,” and Hartley is “never impressed by weight loss that is only to be regained.”
And yes, Weight Watchers weighed in at the most effective price among the few methods considered, but Hartley thinks it doesn’t seem worth it. Here’s how it compared to the others tested:
Weight Watchers: $155 / 2.2 pounds lost*
Qsymia: $204 / 2.2 pounds lost
Vtrim: $213 / 2.2 pounds lost
Jenny Craig: $338-$424 / 2.2 pounds lost
Lorcaserin: $545 / 2.2 pounds lost
Orlistat: $546 / 2.2 pounds lost
Of course, the prescription costs could be affected and reduced through insurance, just as the commercial programs’ prices could be affected by coupons and special deals.
Is there a way to simulate the beneficial components and remove the downfalls for an even better price? Or even for free?
“I’ve seen too many people lose weight and maintain it for FREE using the tools and information online along with their supportive online communities. SparkPeople.com, MyFitnessPal.com, FitDay.com, and CalorieCount.com are some of the best,” Hartley recommends.
As far as weight loss medications, these are only to be considered by the morbidly obese. As they are only available by prescription, you must talk with your doctor if you’re considering medication as a possible solution. Read how the FDA is now requiring more testing to approve weight loss drugs.
When choosing a weight loss platform, Dr. Ashton says “there is more than just financial cost. There is social cost, quality of life cost, and they all should be considered.”
*the study compared prices to per kilogram lost