A new study published in the journal Health Affairs suggests that the US social healthcare service, Medicare could save as much as $15 billion annually by simply enrolling obese adults into a 16-week weight loss program.
The study was conducted by two researchers at the Emory University who found that funding weight loss programs for overweight adults between 60 to 64 years of age could save Medicare up to $15 billion per year.
The researchers said that funding such a program for pre-diabetic elderly could cost around $590 million but they added that Medicare could save over $2.3 billion in the next 10 years while the total savings could be over $9.3 billion during the lifetimes of those who enrolled in the program.
The researchers added that an additional $3.7 billion could be saved in the next decade if the program included those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. "Medicare savings could range from approximately $7 billion to $15 billion, depending on how broadly program eligibility was defined and actual levels of program participation", the researchers, Kenneth E. Thorpe and Zho Yang wrote in their report.