Doctors have long been reluctant to treat obesity as a disease, arguing that if the element of personal responsibility is removed, people are inclined to view their weight gain as something they can do nothing about, rather than pro-actively trying to diet. Now Novo Nordisk is launching a renewed drive to convince doctors to chance their attitude which coincides with a drive to raise interest in its new Wegovy product, an injectable form of semaglutide – found in conjunction with diet and exercise, to produce significant weight loss in severely obese people. Semaglutide acts like human glucagon-like peptide-1 increasing insulin secretion, and therefore increasing sugar metabolism.
Novo Nordisk’s report Levelling Up Obesity Care, points out that obesity affects more than one in four adults in England and this number is expected to rise to over one in three by 2030. Obesity is not just a chronic, relapsing and progressive disease, it is also a gateway disease linked to 200 serious and life-limiting health conditions, from cancer and cardiovascular disease to T2D and depression. Its impact on individuals and families is substantial, and its cost to society in terms of healthcare and lost productivity, amounts to tens of billions.
The report points out that specialist NHS obesity services are only available in about half the areas in the country and even then people are reluctant to access them because of the guilt and stigma associated with the condition, meaning they suffer worse ill health
The healthcare professionals who contributed to the report are calling for a reformed approach to weight management services is needed to ensure patients access the right care, at the right time.