This article by GMA is too good to not post here. It’s an excellent read, and part of the reason why I want to expand access to medically assisted weight loss.

Dr. Caroline Apovian, endocrinologist and co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said the following during an interview:

“Some of the backlash against drugs like Ozempic being used for weight loss stems from the idea that people using the drugs for weight loss are taking them away from people with diabetes, for whom the drugs were designed. Another swath of the anger seems to stem from the fact that the cost of the drugs — over $1,000 per month without health insurance in most cases — makes them inaccessible to most people.
Both Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Type 2 diabetes, but some doctors prescribe the medication “off-label” for weight loss, as is permissible by the FDA. Wegovy is FDA-approved for weight loss.

Some of the biggest shaming around the idea of using drugs for weight loss, however, comes from those who say certain people may not be “obese enough” to be using the medications, and from those who call using drugs for weight loss the “easy way out,” despite medical evidence showing otherwise, according to Dr. Caroline Apovian, an endocrinologist and co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Apovian said the way people are called out for using Ozempic implies that they haven’t “earned” their way to being thin, which society still deems as the acceptable size. She said she sees patients who cannot lose weight on their own but still waver on using a medication to help because of the implication that it’s somehow “the easy way out.”

“With obesity, we think that all you have to do is stop being a glutton and stop being lazy, and it’s your moral failure, and you can do something about it, so it’s very easy to look at that person and stigmatize them,” Apovian told “GMA.” “Can you imagine if you said that about somebody who had high blood pressure? ‘Oh, she’s on Lisinopril [a blood pressure medication], the easy way out. Why doesn’t she stop eating salt?'”

Obesity is a medical condition that affects nearly 42% of people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are the top causes of premature and preventable death, according to the CDC. All the ways Ozempic and other drugs like it work in the body show that, as Apovian said, weight is not a matter of willpower or calories alone, and that’s the case whether a person has 20 or 120 pounds to lose.
Ozempic and similar drugs mimic the effects of GLP-1, a type of hormone in the body that impacts everything from the brain to muscle to the pancreas, stomach, and liver. Without taking something to change the hormonal levels in the body, people with certain genetics simply cannot lose weight and keep it off, according to Apovian.

“When we try to lose weight with diet and exercise alone, the hunger hormones skyrocket and the satiety hormones drop, and it is almost impossible to keep the weight off,” she said, adding, “There are powerful hormonal forces that are pushing the body to gain the weight back.”…

…Dubrow said he believes that as more and more people understand what the medical research now shows — that obesity is a medical disorder, not a result of lifestyle choices — the shame around Ozempic and other weight loss drugs, which he describes as the “cure for obesity,” will fade away.

“It’s a disease like diabetes. It’s a disease like heart disease,” Dubrow said, adding, “So, treat obesity as a disease. Stop treating it as something to be embarrassed about.”

Apovian agreed, noting that she sees hope, but adding that it can take a long time to make societal and medical shifts in how we think about obesity

In essence: don’t let someone else deter you from your better health journey. See the full story below.