South Korea will extend its national insurance coverage to patients with obesity problems starting in November, the health authorities have announced.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Health Insurance Service said insurance coverage will be provided for weight loss surgery, such as lap-band, gastric bypass and other surgical treatments, reports the Yonhap News Agency.
A growing number of South Koreans are struggling with their body weight, with the obesity rate among adults hitting 33.55% in 2016. Noticeably, 5.31% of adults were regarded as highly obese.
The ministry said obesity is a disease that brings various complications, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases, particularly among adult males.
Recent studies have shown that surgical procedures are more effective than non-surgical treatment at treating morbid obesity.
Last year, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Health Insurance Service announced plans to allocate KRW9 billion (US$7.8 million) to provide insurance coverage for the surgical treatment of morbid obesity.