March 9, 2020
Based on our research over the past few decades, only about 3.4% of dieters prefer to visit a physician’s office, hospital or medical clinic for a weight loss program. 80-85% or so use a do-it-yourself program (retail meal replacements, OTC diet pills, online purchases), and the balance use a commercial chain or an MLM distributor.
This percentage will probably slip lower in the next six months as the coronavirus spreads and fears increase. In normal times, many dieters avoid the doctor’s office or a hospital, but this will accelerate this year. Why? Because a doctor’s office, or a medical clinic, or a hospital is where the sick people are! Who wants to risk picking something up from an infected person?
Medical weight loss providers should realize this and start planning for lower caseloads in the coming months, and they should try to develop and implement a virtual program whereby the MD, Nurse or Coach/Counselor can talk to patients via phone, email and Skype (i.e. telemedicine). Otherwise, it could be a very lean year.
Companies at risk of declining business this year include the following:
- MD office programs (incl. bariatricians)
- Hospital-based programs (VLCD plans such as Optifast, HMR, Robard)
- Medical weight loss franchises (Physicians Weight Loss, Dr. G’s, JumpStart MD, Nuviva, Let’s Lose, Smart For Life, Centers for Medical Weight Loss, Thinique, Medi-WeightLoss).
Several medical weight loss companies that have hedged their bets well, and which have operated a virtual program for years (planning ahead) are: Lindora Medical Clinics, a chain of 38 sites based in California, and Medical Weight Loss of Michigan.
Lindora offers their Lean for Life by Phone program as a convenient way for people to access the same clinically proven program offered in the Lindora clinics, but from the convenience of their telephone. A certified Lindora by Phone nurse educator guides patients through the program, using the same programs, books, tools and nutritional products developed and used at the Lindora Medical Clinics. Cost: $249-329 vs. $469-1,700 for the in-person plan. Lindora also has a $149 Lindora Online 6 week program.
Note: John LaRosa, MBA, Marketdata’s President & Research Director, an independent analyst of the weight loss market for 31 years, is available for consulting and coaching, for weight loss companies. He can help with business plans, competitor analyses, market potential estimates, new product development, strategy, and more.
Marketdata has a variety of weight loss market research reports and $99 Overviews, covering all segments of the market. Custom Studies also performed. See: https://www.marketdataenterprises.com/diet-market-our-specialty/
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