Doctors Gave 4,000 Kids Weight-Loss Drugs In 2023: REPORT

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Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Doctors reportedly prescribed about 4,000 children weight-loss drugs in 2023, data showed.

Thousands of overweight patients ages 12 to 17 were reportedly prescribed weight loss drugs Wegovy and Ozempic, data obtained from PurpleLab, a health care analytics program, revealed, according to NBC News.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed its guidelines in 2023 to include weight loss drugs for children ages 12 and older, the outlet reported. Doctors are reportedly allowed to prescribe semaglutide, medications that suppress appetite, to minor patients whom they consider unable to lose weight through a healthy diet and exercise.

Some pediatric medical officials, such as Dr. Joan Han from New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System, told the outlet changing one’s lifestyle is often fruitless in fixing obesity due to the significant role of genetics. (RELATED: Over 2% Of One State’s Residents Have Prescription For Trendy Weight-Loss Drugs, Data Shows)

“It would make sense that sheer willpower is not necessarily going to fix excess weight gain,” Han reportedly stated.

Dr. Sheila Magge from John Hopkins Medicine emphasized that obesity-related conditions she used to see “exclusively” in adults have recently been present in child patients, NBC News reported. She told the outlet that the “effectiveness and the relative side effects profile” of drugs like Ozempic make it a favored treatment option in comparison to others. The side effects of the drug reportedly include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

The AAP’s approval of recommending weight loss drugs for children comes as obesity rates continue to rise in the United States. Approximately 14.7 million children and teenagers suffered from obesity in the period from 2017 to 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.