New Yorkers weigh in on diabetes-fighting pills to lose pounds in new poll

About  one-third of metro area residents consider themselves overweight — and nearly one-quarter say they’d pop a prescription diabetes-fighting pill to shed extra pounds, a new survey shows.

Ten percent of respondents from the city and Long Island are already taking, or know someone using, the drugs Ozempic, Mounjaro, or Wegovy to lose weight, according to the Mount Sinai South Nassau Truth in Medicine Poll.

The drugs have already become popular with the rich and famous set looking to drop a few pounds.

Most of respondents using the drugs or know someone who does are women under 50 or black residents, the survey of 600 respondents found.

But the craze of turning to prescription drugs to cut the fat is troubling, doctors at Mount Sinai South Nassau say.

The drugs were manufactured principally to help treat diabetes and obesity.

The recent surge of the drugs’ use for weight loss for those who are neither obese nor diabetic has caused a serious supply shortage.

Ozempic is a popular brand name for people seeking to lose weight using the prescription.
AFP via Getty Images

“These treatments were not intended to serve as an alternative to regular exercise and
healthy eating to lose a few extra pounds quickly,” said Aaron Glatt of Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Department of Medicine.

“They were created to manage type 2 diabetes and obesity.”

While all three drugs can generate weight loss, only Wegovy is approved by the Federal Drug Administration for weight control in obese or overweight teens and adults.

Ozempic, the most popular brand name, and Mounjaro are only approved for patients with type-2 diabetes to control blood glucose levels.     

weight loss medications
New Yorkers are taking Ozempic, Mounjaro, or Wegovy to lose weight.
Getty Images

weight loss medication
Most of the survey respondents using the drugs or know someone who does are women under 50 or black residents.
AP/Novo Nordisk

According to a study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism magazine, participants regained two-thirds of the weight lost after withdrawal from a once-weekly 2.4 mg injection of Ozempic.

The key ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy is semaglutide, which stimulates insulin release from the pancreas. But it also helps with weight loss by targeting areas of the brain that regulate appetite and slowing down the speed at which food travels through the digestive tract.

Mounjaro lowers plasma glucose concentrations after eating, decreases food
intake, and reduces body weight in patients with type-2 diabetes.

All three are given by injection.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they were overweight, underweight or about the right weight.

Nearly one-third — 32% — said they were overweight,  about half said they were about right and 5% said they were underweight.

They were also asked : “I would consider taking a prescription drug to help me manage my weight.” 

Twenty two percent said they would take a prescription drug to lose weight, 55% disagreed and the rest gave no answer.

medical injection
Only 28% of respondents said they’ve spoken to a medical provider about their weight, resorting to their own methods.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

weight loss
Participants regained two-thirds of the weight lost after withdrawal from a once-weekly 2.4 mg injection of Ozempic.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Half the respondents admit to binge eating, 60% said they eat two or more fast-food meals per week and 22% said they consume four or more fast-food meals regularly.

Meanwhile, 60% of city and Long Island residents said rocketing prices caused by record inflation has impacted their food-buying habits.

Many respondents said they’re losing the battle of the bulge. Respondents with a New Year’s resolution for dieting and exercise said the regiment was “not going well.”

Not discussing weight management with a doctor appears to be a contributing factor, according to the findings. Only 28% of respondents said they’ve spoken to medical  provider about their weight.

“I strongly encourage all adults and parents of children who are struggling with overweight to talk about it with their health care providers and to develop a short- and long-term
program to manage it,” said Adhi Sharma, president of Mount Sinai South Nassau. “Physicians are in an ideal position to talk with patients about their weight and prescribe a plan of action to successfully manage it.”

Other findings of the survey:

  • Those most likely to say they binge eat are black respondents, those who are overweight, those committed to weight loss resolutions, men under 50, and those who take Ozempic or are familiar with the drug.
  • Nearly one-third say the thought of gaining weight causes them stress and anxiety.
  • Nearly one-half of women under 50 agree with that statement.

The poll, conducted for Mount Sinai Nassau by LJR Custom Strategies, was done via landlines and cell phones with 600 Long Island and city residents. Poll findings are subject to a sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percent points.