In the United States, over 30% of Americans are overweight, and 42% have obesity, with nearly half attempting weight loss annually through exercise and diet modifications like eating less and increasing fruit and vegetable intake. We all know how difficult it can be the lose weight and how people are always on the lookout for the next quick fix.
A breakthrough in weight management has been the introduction of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1s), such as semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound), which are transforming the approach to obesity treatment. Originally developed for type 2 diabetes, these drugs mimic the GLP-1 hormone, reducing appetite and food intake by signaling the brain’s satiety center and slowing movement in the stomach. They have become very popular for people in America and are creating a lot of buzz for those who are interested.
Ozempic, initially approved for diabetes in 2017, for instance, has gained widespread attention for its weight loss benefits, with celebrities and influencers among those promoting its effects. The active ingredient, semaglutide, also used in the higher-dose obesity treatment Wegovy, has been widely discussed online, including by Elon Musk and Andy Cohen. With over 273 million views on TikTok under the hashtag #Ozempic, the conversation spans from significant weight loss achievements to discussions about side effects. The FDA’s approval of Zepbound for weight management and the anticipation of similar medications indicate a growing trend. While Ozempic and Wegovy are primarily for those with diabetes or obesity, their off-label use for weight loss is rising, despite potential side effects like nausea and dehydration, and concerns about accessibility for those with medical needs.
Dr. Jorge Moreno, an obesity specialist, emphasizes that these medications are specifically for individuals with obesity or those with a BMI of 27 and above who also have weight-related health issues. They fill a gap between traditional weight loss methods and bariatric surgery, offering substantial weight loss benefits.
However, and it’s really important for people to understand that there is a “however.” It’s crucial to recognize that these drugs are part of a broader obesity management strategy that includes lifestyle changes and regular medical follow-up, underscoring that no single treatment is a cure-all for obesity. People need to meet with their healthcare provider and really research into their options before jumping into any current craze for weight loss.