Medical Weight Loss Companies Come in a Variety of Models

Smiling young woman excited about the scaleThe U.S. weight loss market has grown 16% from 2020, to $75 billion, recovering much of the ground lost to the Covid-19 pandemic. Medical weight loss programs represented a significant 11.7% of the total weight loss market in 2022, worth $8.8 billion, and this share is forecast to rise to 13.4% by 2027.

Many types of medical weight loss programs exist — programs based in hospitals, franchises, regional chains, independent MDs, and licensee models. Their approaches differ, as some use private label meal replacements, some use prescription medications while others do not.

Marketdata estimates that the system-wide revenues of nine medical chains and franchises in 2022 were just under $150 million — or about 19% of the 2021 value of the hospital/clinic/MD market segment.

Ownership differs as well, as some companies are owned by private equity firms while others have a large healthcare system as the parent, and still others are independent.

Key Medical Weight Loss Companies and Models

  • HMR (Health Management Resources) has long been the leader in LCD programs (low-calorie diets). They are a vendor serving hospitals, clinics, and MDs with their meal replacements (shakes, nutrition bars, entrees) and turn-key education and counseling modules.
  • Lindora Clinics is a regional chain of 34 medical weight loss clinics in California. All are company-owned, not franchised. This is a program that may or may not use medications, and which operates a virtual, phone, and in-person program. Grocery store food is used.
  • Medi-WeightLoss is a medical weight loss franchise with 90+ units. The plan is a very low-calorie diet based on regular food, company supplements, injections, and appetite suppressants. The average revenue per franchise is $884,000 and franchisees are required to have a $1 million net worth.
  • Bariatricians are independent MDs with a specialty treating obesity, not affiliated with any company. There are roughly 2,500 of them in the U.S. Ideally, surgeons would see bariatricians as being complementary, helping their clients to lose weight prior to surgery, educating them about nutrition, and helping them maintain their weight loss after. A typical weight loss program with a bariatrician will cost $1,600-2,000.
  • The Centers for Medical Weight Loss is not a franchise but a syndicated licensee model, wherein an MD pays a flat fee and receives company training and carves out part of their practice for weight loss patients. This is mainly a cash-only payment plan targeted at affluent patients.
  • Hospital-based programs. Hospitals may create their own weight loss program, using a multidisciplinary combination of MDs, dietitians, nurse practitioners, behavior modification counselors, and exercise specialists. The hospital’s fitness center may be used. Another option is for the hospital to use a VLCD vendor’s program (HMR, Optifast, Robard).

To learn more about this significant segment of the weight loss market, and how nuances differentiate the various medical programs and competitors, see Marketdata’s report, published March 2023 entitled: The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market. Most of the medical weight loss companies are private and primary research was utilized to construct in-depth profiles of them.

About the Author:  John LaRosa is the President of Marketdata LLC and is the author of 100+ industry and market studies. His research appears in top media outlets including ABC, CNN, Fox, ForbesUSA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and a variety of trade journals. 

Topics: Healthcare Industry Insights