In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Susan Yanovski of the U.S. National Institutes of Health pointed out that the participants got the meal replacement and medicines at no cost. "Whether patients would be willing to pay for these therapies, or insurers would be willing to reimburse for them, is not known," she said.
Appel estimates his program would cost less than $500 for the two years and speculates that employers might pay. Wadden said his program would cost about $1,300 for the two years. He said employers or insurers might pay in the future.
One in three U.S. adults is obese. Both studies were funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The study led by Appel was also supported by other sources, including Healthways, a disease-management company that has a consulting agreement with Johns Hopkins. One study author has received consulting fees from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck and royalties from Taylor & Francis Publishing.
For information about healthy food choices, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
SOURCES: Thomas A. Wadden, Ph.D., professor of psychology and psychiatry and director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Lawrence J. Appel, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and director, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; presentations, American Heart Association meeting, Orlando, Fla.; Nov. 15, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine, online
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