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  • Writer's pictureSusannah Blount

Can the battle over obesity be won with Ozempic?

Updated: Apr 29

By Susannah Blount

In the battle against obesity, a quick fix has emerged. Ozempic, originally designed as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes, is gaining attention for its remarkable off-label use as a potent weight-loss aid.

“It is a great short-term option and scientifically proven to lose stubborn weight,” says nutritionist Kate Moore.

The diabetic drug curbs hunger and allows for easier weight loss, causing it to be a powerhouse weight loss aid, helping Americans fight obesity by making them less hungry.  

Obesity has been a prevalent health challenge among Americans for decades, impacting as much as 70% of the nation's population.

Weight-loss pills have been promoted as a remedy as long ago as the 1940s, with some posing risks such as heart and lung diseases. 

Why Ozempic? 

Ozempic has demonstrated remarkable results, with patients experiencing an average weight loss of 15% of their body mass while using the drug.

Moore explained that there are specific reasons a person would be prescribed Ozempic - mainly if they have Type 2 Diabetes or are excessively overweight.

“If they have an extremely high BMI then yes because everything is risk versus benefits," she said. "Someone upwards of 400 pounds needs to get weight off as soon as possible because they're at a high risk for a lot of other problems like heart problems."

For Suzi Fife, who went on Ozempic, the drug immediately improved her weight and body mass index.

"It made a huge impact on my BMI," she said. "I lost up to 10-15 pounds, so I would definitely say it works."

Fife said she experienced minimal weight gain following the initial weight loss, but she explained part of the beauty of the drug was how it helped shift her thinking about food.

“Weight came back a little but it changes the way you look at food in a good way, so it wasn’t a problem,” she said. “My appetite got back to normal after about six weeks of being off it.” 

Beyond its medical benefits, Ozempic has found a place in popular culture, particularly in Hollywood. 

“It is the buy-in of Hollywood,” Matthew Schneier writes in the Cut. “Took Ozempic from medicine to status symbol.” 

Ozempic has become so popular that more than nine million prescriptions were written just in the last three months of 2023.

“I think Ozempic can be very useful for people who need it and have genuine weight loss problems because that is a real issue. I feel that it should just be on a smaller scale not a larger one,” says psychologist Mary Turner. "The influx of social media and people promoting unrealistic body types, like through editing software. This causes people to have a distorted body view of themselves. They don’t view themselves the same as those around them so they want to be on the medication but don't actually need it.”

While Ozempic is great for weight loss, it’s hard to tell if it’s popular now because it’s trendy - or because it’s a really good way to lose weight. 

The roster of celebrities endorsing Ozempic spans across various sections of the entertainment industry, including TikTok influencers, Hollywood icons, and prominent social media personalities.

“It makes the body positivity movement definitely take a step back. Now the hot new thing is getting on medicine to make you skinny and not just enjoy the body you have,” says Turner. 

Leading the pack is renowned media personality Kim Kardashian, who reportedly attributes her rapid weight loss to Ozempic usage. Entrepreneur Elon Musk has also publicly acknowledged his use of Ozempic, even referencing the weight loss drug in one of his tweets.

"My rule of thumb is never take medicine you don't need because you will hurt yourself in the long run,” Moore said, emphasizing the importance of weighing the risks and benefits before taking any medication.

While Ozempic boasts numerous benefits for weight loss, it also presents certain drawbacks. 

Moore highlights potential risks to the pancreas and common side effects such as nausea.

“I really suffered from nausea and constipation,” Fife adds.

Comparing these outcomes to individuals who achieve weight loss naturally reveals contrasting effects from their respective journeys.

“I have more energy,” explains Evan Welden, who shed 45 pounds through diet and exercise, not medication. “It really made me realize how much food affects you. I even feel more optimistic about small things and see a positive impact on my mental health.” 

For decades, the nation has prioritized weight loss as a central health concern. Ozempic offers a solution to one of Americans’ biggest challenges.

And even though Weldon chose not to take a drug to help lose weight, he doesn’t feel “cheated” by people who do.

“People can do what they want with their body,” he says. All the hard work is so rewarding, and I am proud of myself for that.” 

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