Weight Loss Drug Ozempic May Lower Obesity within Black Community

Just a year ago, many people had little knowledge about the medication known as Ozempic, however, it has quickly gained popularity as a weight-loss secret—but what about within the Black community?

Obesity in America remains at a crisis level, according to the World Health Organization. In fact, 70 percent of Americans are considered overweight or obese, leaving them at risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart complications. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, non-Hispanic Black adults have the highest rates of obesity. The CDC reports that based on BMI, 50 percent of non-Hispanic Black adults in the U.S. are classified as obese, the highest rate for any race or ethnicity.

The relatively new medication Ozempic could change the obesity statistics for Americans, including within the Black community. Ozempic (semaglutide) belongs to a new generation of medications called “nutrient-stimulated, hormone-based therapeutics,” which work by copying your body’s own hormones. Ozempic mimics a hormone called GLP-1, which is made naturally in your gut and kicks into action when you eat, sending messages to your brain that there is food in your intestines and you don’t need any more food.

In response, the brain suppresses your appetite. It also slows down digestion, holding food in your stomach and intestines longer before being absorbed. Acting like GLP-1, Ozempic has these same effects.

Semaglutide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for both type 2 diabetes (Ozempic) and obesity (Wegovy). It is very effective for both. However, many patients experience side effects, including nausea and abdominal pain. Because it reduces appetite, patients on Ozempic also eat less. To prevent and manage these symptoms while maintaining optimal nutrition, it may be necessary to modify your diet.

However, Ozempic is a costly weight loss medication, costing more than $1,000 a month. The medication is prescribed off-label for weight loss and not covered by most insurances. However, there are current efforts to find ways to offer similar medication to lower-income individuals.

Still, Ozempic is not safe for everyone. According to health experts people with the following conditions should avoid using Ozempic:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Problems with the pancreas or kidneys
  • Family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), an endocrine system condition

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