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Ozempic threatens growing ‘body positive’ movement as Americans told to embrace plus size suddenly find easy way to lose weight

Ozempic threatens the ‘body positivity’ movement as Americans told to embrace plus size find an easy way to slim down, experts have warned.

The drug, originally intended for people with diabetes, is made from a compound called semaglutide. Ozempic and alternatives like Wego’s are part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 RAs, which help people produce insulin and lower blood sugar.

The drugs also slow the movement of food through the stomach, reducing appetite — and leading people to see them as an easy way to shed pounds.

«With Ozempic, excess weight can be instantly (if expensively) resolved,» Raven Smith wrote for Vogue in March.

“Larger people can quickly transition to a more socially acceptable size. Ozempic is a miracle drug, a cure for obesity that we have reluctantly forced ourselves to accept.’

The drug has seen a surge in popularity on the internet as people post their weight loss results and tout the drug as a miracle cure.

But as more Americans take the drug, the body positivity movement — which embraces all body types, especially plus-sized ones — seems to be falling out of fashion (pictured: Dear Kate’s 2014 ad campaign)

Ozempic, a GLP-1 drug designed for people with diabetes, has exploded in popularity as a weight loss drug

The body positivity movement began in earnest in 1969 when an engineer named Bill Fabrey created the National Association to Aid Fat Americans, now known as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.

In the 21st century, body positivity has been embraced by corporations trying to market to a wider audience. Brands such as Dove ran ads featuring women of various sizes, and other brands adopted the slogan «all bodies are beautiful».

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But with the advent of weight loss drugs, there seems to have been a shift in tone. Weight loss services like Noom, a subscription-based diet app, have adopted them.

And while the app was built on the foundations of behavioral change and mental well-being, it seems to be taking a shortcut. It was launched last year Noom Med, offering prescriptions for GLP-1 drugs provided patients fall within a certain BMI range and meet other requirements.

Similarly, after acquiring telehealth company Sequence, Weight Watchers came up with WW Clinic, an online portal that facilitates the prescription of GLP-1 drugs.

The data shows that demand for these drugs has increased, and the numbers are dramatic: from 2021 to 2022, prescriptions increased by 130 percent in Atlanta, 351 percent in Seattle and 481 percent in Cleveland, according to an analysis by Trilliant Health.

GLP-1 drugs have also been adopted by the ultra-famous. Oprah Winfrey has been candid about her experience using diet pills, telling People in December that she considers them a «gift.»

«Having a medically approved weight management and health maintenance prescription in my life feels like a relief … and not something to hide behind and make fun of again,» she said. “I am completely done with being shamed by other people and especially myself.

The body positivity movement began in the 1960s and was adopted by companies such as Dove (pictured) in the 21st.

Influencers who rose to fame on the back of the movement experienced backlash for using the drug. Gabi Menard, a TikToker and Instagram influencer, has been slammed for her decision to use Ozempic simply to be ‘skinny’.

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Claudia Oshry, an influencer and comedian who is candid about her drug use, posted a snarky response to a comment that called her an «Ozempic skeleton.»

Ozempic wasn’t specifically approved by the FDA for chronic weight management, but that hasn’t stopped patients from using it off-label — creating a mass shortage for diabetics and those who need the drug to survive.

But the shaming goes both ways—even for great people who are open about their decision to take the drug. Gabi Menard, the influencer who rose to fame in the body positivity movement, announced in May that she was taking Ozempice simply to be ‘skinny’.

Struck by the backlash, she immediately deleted the video – but that didn’t stop netizens from leaving comments on the following posts, including one that read: «How’s Ozempic doing?»

Comedian Claudia Oshry was also candid about her drug use. After one user left a comment calling her an ‘Ozempic skeleton’, Oshry posted a TikTok of herself dancing in a skeleton costume.

Appearing on News Nation, journalist Constance Grady said body positivity simply doesn’t make sense for many companies anymore.

“The way a lot of corporations and brands talked about body positivity turned out to be really superficial, and once Ozempic arrived, we saw them start to turn their backs on that,” she said.

At runway shows, Grady explained, the number of plus-size runway models has dropped from a high of 5 percent in 2022 to just 0.6 percent in 2023.

«I think what we’re seeing is that Ozempic is giving people the opportunity to embrace a smaller body, and corporations are saying, ‘Okay, now that it’s a realistic option for a lot of people…then just lean on everyone to do it,'» she continued.

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The American Society of Health System Pharmacists issued a notice earlier this month about continued shortages of Ozempic and Wegova.

Novo Nordisk, the maker of both drugs, has taken steps to increase production capacity, but the supply is not expected to meet patient demand for certain dose strengths.

The FDA approved Ozempic in 2017 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes with diet and exercise. It has not been approved for chronic weight management, but is often prescribed off-label.

On the other hand, Wegovy was specifically approved for people with severe obesity.

GLP-1 drugs have also been taken by people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder. Many people with PCOS have insulin resistance, which affects metabolism and causes people to gain weight or struggle to lose weight.

Ozempic is not yet FDA approved to treat this disorder, but that hasn’t stopped people from taking it and treating it like a miracle cure.

Dr. Shauna Levy, an assistant professor of surgery at Tulane University Medical Center, argued that the body positivity movement is experiencing a shift simply because Ozempic provides an easy way to lose weight.

«I think this movement confused people in a lot of different ways because there was an assumption that just because big is beautiful, big is also healthy,» she told News Nation.

«And I think that stopped people from going to the doctor because they felt like they’re fine, it’s good that people accept me, now I don’t need to treat this disease.»

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