- The obesity rate in the US has skyrocketed over the past decade and is currently at a record high.
- In clinical trials of the drug semaglutide, obese patients lost an average of 33 pounds in just over a year.
- Drug maker Novo Nordisk has already filed for FDA approval to use the drug – currently used to fight type 2 diabetes – as a drug for obesity.
The obesity rate in America has risen sharply in recent years, largely because unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles are more common today than ever. Consider this: The obesity rate in the US is nearly 30% higher in 2021 than it was in 2008. Additionally, recent health data shows that a whopping 42% of Americans are currently obese. Incidentally, 2020 was the first time that the obesity rate exceeded the 40% threshold in the United States. With the above in mind, it’s no surprise that heart disease remains the leading cause of all deaths in the United States
While exercise and a healthy diet remain the best plan of attack in the fight against obesity, not everyone is able to accommodate these lifestyle changes for financial or health reasons. However, a new drug might be exactly the answer people are looking for.
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The drug in question is called semaglutide and is already used to treat type 2 diabetes. However, recent clinical studies show that giving a higher dose of the drug can help obese people lose weight.
According to a research study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the drug helped people lose an average of 15% of their body weight after 68 weeks. To put this into context, someone who weighs 300 pounds could lose over 45 pounds in just over a year while taking semaglutide. In addition, more than 33% of the study participants said they lost 20% of their body weight while taking the drug. The average amount of weight loss by study participants was about 34 pounds.
In addition to weight loss, Semaglutide also improved cardiovascular risk factors, including greater reductions in waist circumference, BMI, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose, C-reactive protein, and fasting lipid levels, as well as physical function and quality of life.
“This is a major breakthrough in improving the health of people with obesity,” said Professor Rachel Batterham of University College London of the study. “No other drug has come close to achieving this weight loss – this is really a cornerstone. For the first time, people can achieve through medication what only weight loss surgery could do. “
The researchers find that the improvements in patients taking semaglutide are far greater than the obesity drugs currently on the market. The drug schedule itself isn’t particularly stressful and requires a person to take a single pill only once a week.
Following the successful clinical trial, the drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk is currently applying for FDA approval for the drug’s use in weight loss.
Yoni Heisler is a lifelong Mac user and Apple enthusiast, and has been writing about Apple and the entire tech industry for over 6 years. His writing has been published in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK and most recently in TUAW. When Yoni isn’t writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, he enjoys watching improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions. The most recent examples are The Walking Dead and Broad City.