Cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) are only now beginning to be used by business, government, and policymakers to evaluate various medical treatments. The evolution of why CEAs are being demanded is reviewed. To date, a formal CEA of obesity treatments has not been published. This article outlines how a CEA is performed, reviews data relevant to setting up a formal CEA of medical and surgical obesity treatments, and lists published reports that demonstrate the effectiveness of surgical obesity treatments. The general level of discrimination that society allows the obese to suffer also allows medical insurance companies, businesses, and government to not provide many obese Americans with obesity treatments that have established a level of effectiveness far surpassing many other forms of medical therapy. CEAs of obesity treatments, by themselves, cannot be expected to reverse this discrimination. This type of data, however, provides individual obese patients and their physicians with evidence to challenge policymakers' decisions, especially when cost-effective obesity treatments are excluded or placed at a lower priority than treatments with less proven effectiveness.
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