(NewsNation) — WeightWatchers signaled it is moving into the Ozempic market, a decision one doctor believes is a “dangerous move.”
Ozempic, a brand name for the drug semaglutide, is used to treat type 2 diabetes but is increasingly being touted as a weight loss regimen, despite not being approved for such a use. Another drug, Wegovy, has also been popularized and was approved to treat obesity in 2021.
But numerous health experts, including Dr. Mark Hyman, are cautioning against the trend.
One common warning is that users may need to take the medication for life to keep the weight off. A new study finds that using the drugs could also lead to an “increased risk” of intestinal obstruction.
Hyman, senior advisor to the Cleveland Clinic Center of Functional Medicine, questions the ethics of companies like WeightWatchers promoting the drugs as a weight loss option.
“When these companies are kind of looking for a way out for getting customers, I think it’s really a dangerous move because it misses the big issue, which is why are we having on obesity crisis in the first place,” Hyman said.
The reason for that crisis, he argues, is a worsening food system that promotes highly processed, highly addictive foods.
“It’s kind of a mess, and if we don’t deal with the real reason why we’re so obese as a nation, we’re not going to solve this problem,” Hyman said.
The CEO of WW International Inc., the new corporation name for WeightWatchers, said in a statement that the company plans to create programs tailored to people who are using weight loss drugs that will include an emphasis on strength training and consuming high-protein foods.
“As we build out our clinical weight management pathway, we will be learning and likely tailoring our nutrition program for this distinct member journey,” CEO Gary Foster wrote. “We know weight management isn’t one-size-fits-all and clinical interventions are not medically or otherwise appropriate for everyone, which is why we remain committed to all pathways.”
Hyman echoed the sentiment of other health professionals who worry that prescription weight loss pills aren’t the best approach to promoting healthy lifestyles.
“When we talk about using this drug, we’re talking about going down the wrong path,” Hyman said. “We’re not focused on what needs to be done, which is to address the root causes of why we’re overweight instead of looking for a quick fix.”