You are currently viewing Oprah’s TV Special on Obesity Drugs and Obesity: 5 Things to Know

Oprah’s TV Special on Obesity Drugs and Obesity: 5 Things to Know

Oprah Winfrey recently hosted a TV special focusing on obesity drugs and the obesity epidemic. She invited medical experts to discuss how these drugs work and emphasized that obesity is a disease, not a character flaw. Through her platform, Winfrey aims to change the conversation around obesity and its treatment, hoping to reduce the stigma and shame associated with it.

The World Health Organization reports that 1 in 8 adults worldwide have obesity, along with over 160 million children and adolescents. Winfrey’s efforts to address the stigma of obesity are praised by experts, who believe that her influence can raise awareness about weight loss options. The special highlighted key takeaways about how society discusses obesity and the use of new drugs like Ozempic pen, Wegovy and Zepbound for its treatment.

Obesity Is a Disease

Obesity, recognized as a disease by the American Medical Association since 2013, is often misunderstood as a lack of willpower. Dr. W. Scott Butsch explained on Oprah’s special that obesity is a complex condition influenced by genetics and the environment. People with obesity may have a stronger drive to eat and a tendency to gain weight more easily. Willpower alone cannot overcome these factors. Medications like Ozempic and Wegovy help by reducing hunger, but they are not a cure. 

The CDC lists genetics, socioeconomic factors, and medications as potential causes of obesity. Simply dieting and exercising may not be effective for those with obesity, as they have likely tried these methods without lasting success. Comprehensive treatment approaches, similar to those for alcoholism, are needed, focusing on the brain’s role in controlling actions and behaviors. Patients with obesity often feel patronized by healthcare providers and may avoid seeking medical care. Despite efforts to eat well and exercise, the battle against obesity is challenging due to genetic factors that drive increased caloric intake.

People with Obesity Feel Shame

Living with obesity often leads to feelings of shame, as highlighted by Kane’s emotional recounting of her experiences. This stigma is deeply ingrained in society, with fat-shaming being seen as one of the last acceptable biases. There’s a widespread misconception that obesity is simply a result of laziness or lack of willpower, leading individuals to blame themselves. This blame can have devastating effects on mental health. Kane and Winfrey discussed how the assumption that obesity is a personal choice can lead to shame and confusion, especially when traditional treatments like diet and exercise don’t work. 

Dr. Rachel Goldman, a clinical psychologist, emphasizes the impact of societal assumptions on individuals’ self-esteem and mental well-being. Kane’s experience shows that being treated differently after losing weight can further highlight the unfair treatment people living with obesity face. Also, sometimes following the Important Safety Information doesn’t work.

Dealing with Shame Surrounding Anti-Obesity Medications

The stigma around taking anti-obesity drugs can be harmful, as people are often shamed for using medication to manage their weight. This criticism is rooted in misconceptions and the belief that obesity can be overcome through willpower alone. However, experts emphasize that obesity should be seen as a chronic disease, much like high blood pressure or diabetes, and using available tools, including medications, should not be belittled. 

Changing the conversation around these drugs to focus on health and disease treatment rather than weight loss can help reduce stigma and promote understanding. By reframing the discussion, we can create a more empathetic and supportive environment for those seeking treatment for obesity.

Anti-Obesity Drugs Are Now Available for Teens Under 18

Anti-obesity medications are now an option for individuals under 18, offering hope for those struggling with weight issues from a young age. Maggie Ervie’s journey, highlighted by her mother, Erika, showcases the challenges faced by young people dealing with obesity. Despite trying various approaches like sports, camps, and obesity clinics, Maggie’s weight continued to rise, reaching 300 lbs. by age 11. Concerned for her health, doctors recommended bariatric surgery and Victoza (a medication to manage obesity), which she started at 13. 

However, by the time Wegovy, a more effective medication, became available to younger patients, Maggie was already on Victoza. While the family has faced criticism for their decision, Erika emphasizes the importance of understanding their situation before passing judgment. Healthcare providers stress the complexity of treating obesity in adolescents, urging parents and young individuals to discuss options with them to make informed decisions for better health outcomes.

Anti-Obesity Drugs Are Not an Easy Fix

Anti-obesity medications, such as Zepbound, are not a quick fix. Combining these medications with a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, is crucial. Clinical trials show that these medications are most effective when paired with lifestyle changes. Working with a registered dietitian and personal trainer can provide the support and accountability needed for successful weight loss. A comprehensive weight loss or management program that includes nutrition counseling, medical supervision, and behavioral support is key to achieving long-term success.

Side Effects Related to Anti-Obesity Medications

The use of anti-obesity medications can lead to various side effects. These effects can range from mild, like nausea or changes in bowel habits, to severe, such as vomiting blood, which may require emergency medical attention. According to a Prime Therapeutics analysis, 6.8% of individuals stopped using a popular anti-obesity medication due to side effects in clinical trials, and only 33% continued use after a year. 

While some experts believe these side effects are overemphasized, others stress the importance of understanding and managing them. Options such as medication to counteract side effects and mindful eating practices can help. Still, patients should not hesitate to seek support from healthcare providers when needed and, if required, ask them whether to buy ozempic online Canada safely.


Oprah Winfrey’s recent special highlighted the stigma and guilt often associated with obesity, emphasizing that it should be recognized as a disease. People struggling with obesity may find it challenging to ignore cravings and shed excess weight. Medications like Wegovy can be beneficial in combating these challenges, especially when used alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise. 

For years, individuals with obesity have faced stigma and the misconception that their weight issues stem from a lack of willpower. However, there is no pushback against using anti-obesity medication despite its potential benefits. Winfrey and others aim to change these misconceptions and reduce the stigma surrounding obesity. If you’re taking anti-obesity medicines, it’s essential to work with a dietitian, personal trainer, and healthcare provider who understands your needs and supports your weight loss journey.

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