WeightWatchers launches program for users of Ozempic and other weight loss drugs

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For those who thought Ozempic would mean the end of diet programs, think again.

WeightWatchers this week launched WeightWatchers GLP-1, a subscription program focused on the health and nutrition needs of patients using Ozempic and Wegovy. two brands of semaglutidea diabetes medication that has gained popularity for its effectiveness in helping people lose weight.

With its new membership offering, the 60-year-old diet company hopes to remain relevant in a rapidly changing industry. The widespread use of Ozempic and Wegovy has disrupted the diet industry and even consumers' eating habits changed. An estimated 24 million people, or 7% of the US population, could use these drugs by 2035, according to a report from Morgan Stanley Research.

“The WeightWatchers GLP-1 program helps members establish and adhere to healthy habits while reducing the dietary noise of GLP-1 medications,” Gary Foster, WeightWatchers chief scientific officer, said in a statement announcing the program.

GLP-1 refers to a gut hormone that is key to how semaglutide works with the brain to suppress appetite. While Ozempic and Wegovy are brand-name equivalents of semaglutide, only Wegovy is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for chronic weight management. However, unauthorized use of Ozempic is common among those who lack insurance coverage for Wegovy.

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“A large portion of people don't have insurance coverage for weight management medications, but they may have insurance coverage for Ozempic,” said Kimberly Gudzune, MD, in an article in WeightWatchers. website.

The program, developed by a team of scientists, dieticians, fitness experts and other obesity specialists, is designed to help members use new anti-obesity medications, which can cause rapid weight changes. Offers include daily nutrition and activity goals, including weight training to help subscribers maintain muscle mass as they lose weight.

“What we've seen is that people who take GLP-1 medications need help with a different set of behavioral problems compared to people who don't take these medications,” Foster said. “In the context of reduced appetite, large weight losses, and significant muscle loss, it is important to help people focus on protein in diet and activity to minimize muscle loss.”



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