During my walk to today I was thinking about Ozempic. The new weight loss drug that has recently come to the public’s attention and has been quietly used by celebs and others in the know for a while. A few weeks ago, Chelsea Handler admitted she didn’t know she was taking Ozempic and that her private “nutritionist” just handed her things to take, and she hadn’t realized she’d been taking it until she wondered why she was always nauseous, and a friend asked her if she was on Ozempic too. Intractable nausea is a common side effect of Ozempic. At this point there have been dozens of articles on Ozempic, so I won’t be revisiting the pharmacology associated with this medication. She brought this up to exonerate herself for taking it and possibly depriving those who have a real medical need of being able to access it because it is being hoarded by those that are taking it for vanity rather than medical necessity.
We have been inundated with the gospel of body positivity for several years now. Interestingly, this body positivity has mostly meant debunking vitality, good waist to hip ratio and a healthy BMI as a measure of health and beauty. In its place we have been forced to accept various representations of moderate to severe metabolic syndrome as the representation of health and beauty. The message this has sent has been an overt conditioning to gross entitlement. It is a symptom of a deeply hedonistic society; the precedent is that all of one’s addictions and indulgences are not only positive they are morally righteous. I know of people that didn’t quite meet the weight criteria for weight loss surgery and rather than go the gym or reform their dietary practices they just ate more to gain the weight necessary to qualify for the weight loss surgery. It’s not that being overweight is a moral judgement per se, but the campaign to change the perception rather than acknowledging the multitude of ways in which it’s a poor lifestyle choice and leads to poor outcomes is. More and more no one wants to be responsible for anything and they don’t want to engage in anything that they deem hard or that even resembles work of any sort. You can get as fat as you want, and it is someone else’s problem to fix it. I have seen many people post weight loss surgery when they start gaining weight again run back to the surgeon to try and figure out why they plateaued or are gaining weight rather than assess their lifestyle. I had a friend inquire about phentermine for weight loss and after I suggested she try going to the gym she flatly told me, “The gym was incompatible with her lifestyle.” No one wants to be responsible especially since obesity has been deemed a condition that can’t be helped and is outside of one’s control. Despite the myriad of side effects associated with Ozempic, other weight loss medications and surgeries people will still demand and prefer them over changing their lifestyle. It’s a boon for drug companies as they can charge a premium for these medications and most people will pay for them at whatever price point, regardless of insurance coverage, which will be partial for most people. For reference there are still plenty of weight loss clinics peddling phentermine, most of these offices are cash only visits at a rate of $200 per visit or more. Some even dispense the phentermine in the office along with a cocktail of vitamin injections also at a charge (in cash) to the patient. These offices bypass insurance and preauthorization for medications by only accepting cash. I suspect Ozempic is being offered under similar conditions.
Ozempic has great PR from celebs and other notable people that have been “transparent” and are not “gatekeeping” their weight loss secrets. It is great PR for the celebs as well as their transparency translates as an act of beneficence to the public, and they are also walking billboards for the medication. Doesn’t matter if they are actually taking it or not, people feel privy to something exclusive. No one is checking to see which of these celebs are sponsored by the pharmaceutical company that makes Ozempic, which they likely are. Like other medications Ozempic is being marketed as a medication for children to establish its perception as not just a vanity medication but vital to saving children, another good PR move. Childhood obesity is of course an issue, lots of think pieces in reputable magazines and other publications about a very new medication that has at least a few concerning side effects as treatment for children instead of addressing some of the psychosocial issues that may be contributing to childhood obesity. Ozempic is known to be a palliative treatment for obesity and not a cure as most people immediately regain their weight when they discontinue use. Parents often overindulge their children when they have guilt, maybe there is guilt about not being present enough due to work schedules that cause them to allow their children to overeat. Mostly, I think regardless of education level most people don’t know how to eat well and have poor eating habits which they pass on to their children. Also, it used to be that parents would just sign their kids up to play various sports. You would just find out you were playing soccer or field hockey etc. and be dropped off at practice and for games. It was understood that besides recreation children had to be made to participate in vigorous, completive exercise and yes with or without their consent (LOL). I am not sure what the answer is, but I do know with a lot of certainty that a change in lifestyle is a more permanent solution compared to any drug. We are embarking into very bizarre territory when you have a culture that is comfortable with constantly exchanging one condition for another, obesity and food addiction for chronic nausea, Ozempic burps and Ozempic face along with the looming threat of rapid weight gain if they ever stop taking the drug rather than seeking to be free from dependency on food or a drug.
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