How much do branded weight loss programs really cost? And how does that compare to bariatric surgery? (which may seem expensive at first glance but surprisingly affordable in comparison to traditional weight loss programs). This chart compares one clinic's Lap-Band cost with the annual cost of Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

Whether the chart is 100% accurate we're not qualified to judge but the Apollo Lap-Band® is the the leading gastric band in the world and the SmartShape™ Weight Loss Clinic is a well established company with a solid reputation. So we're quessing that the chart is at least reasonably accurate. You decide.

In any event, it's worth thinking about –– the one-time cost of weight loss surgery versus the cumulative cost of diet programs that could go on for years and may or may not be effective for you long term.


Traditional diet programs seem to invest a lot of money in advertising and they wouldn't be doing that if they weren't seeing a satisfactory return on their investment.

Government Coverage

It should be noted that none of the options in this particular chart are covered by any sort of government plan so comparisons are consistent.

Insurance Coverage

While some private insurances companies will cover the cost of bariatric surgery, most will not. Coverages provided by provincial health plans do not include the most modern procedures such as The Gastric Sleeve or Mini Gastric Bypass and unfortunately, usually have very long waiting lists.

Data Source For Chart Info

According to the site, here are the studies and cost comparisons the chart is based on:

Much of the information in the Weight Comparison Chart comes from…

Tsai AG, Wadden TA. Systematic Review: An evaluation of major commercial weight loss programs in the United States. An Intern Med 2005; 142: 56-66.

Dansinger M et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: A randomized trial. JAMA 2005; 293 (1): 43-53. 

  • (A) Includes membership and meeting fees
  • (B) Procedure cost of $16,000 broken out over 5 years for easy comparison
  • (C) $100 - $300 to join, plus approx. $90 per week for required food
  • (D) Annals of Int. Med, Table 2

  • *1-year weight loss is calculated from the number who completed one year only
  • ** Between 3-6% of patients will have the LAP-BAND® removed
  • ***Based on Fielding, 40%-52% excess weight loss at one year, for a person with BMI>40
    Results may vary