Oprah Winfrey Questions If Ozempic Is A ‘Miracle’ For Combating Obesity, Aims To Begin The ‘Un-Shaming’
As someone who has had her weight struggles turned into a public forum for over three decades, Oprah Winfrey is leading an open discussion about obesity and the medications that might serve as a “miracle” to the disease.
The billionaire media mogul got candid for her “State of Weight” conversation on September 20, 2023, where she and a panel of obesity specialists addressed the new weight-loss drugs that are reducing appetite and changing people’s relationship with food.
Known as Ozempic and Mounjaro, the type 2 diabetes medications are prescribed by doctors to help patients lose weight. Another, Wegovy, also helps patients shed unwanted pounds.
With more than 2 billion adults being overweight or obese, and obesity taking more lives than malnutrition, conversations around weight loss medications are crucial. Winfrey, who has battled with her weight in the public eye for decades, was more than comfortable with leading the conversation and getting answers to questions that many obese and overweight patients might have.
“You all know I’ve been on this journey for most of my life. My highest weight was 237 pounds,” Winfrey shared.
“I don’t know if there is another public person whose weight struggle has been exploited as much as mine over the yearS. So I am ready for this conversation.”
Winfrey’s panelists — obesity specialists Doctors Fatima Cody Stanford and Melanie Jay, along with Sima Sistani, CEO of WeightWatchers, and psychologist Dr. Rachel Goldman — explained why obesity is a disease due to the dysfunction it causes the brain in its view on how the body regulates weight.
“It’s going on in our brains,” Stanford said. “It’s about how much we take in and how much we store.”
Winfrey agreed, recalling how many times she has dieted only for her weight to barely drop.
“You all have watched me diet and diet and diet and diet. It’s a recurring thing because my body always seems to want to go back to a certain weight.”
The new weight-loss medications are helping people cut their cravings and feel fuller faster, Today reports. Ozempic and Wegovy contain the synthetic GLP-1 hormone called semaglutide, which the body releases into the intestine when a person eats food. As a result, these medications reduce appetite and make people feel full sooner.
The weight-loss medication Mounjaro contains tirzepatide, which mimics the GIP hormone and may improve how the body breaks down sugar and fat in addition to reducing appetite, NBC News reports. Side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and constipation, along with more serious conditions such as pancreatitis and kidney problems.
When looking at the results, Winfrey asked the specialists if the weight-loss medications could be considered a “miracle moment” for obesity patients.
“I would be very hesitant to say that anything with obesity is a miracle,” said Jay, who is co-director of the NYU Langone Comprehensive Program.
“I’m so excited that we finally have effective treatments for obesity.”
After leading the discussion, Winfrey expressed her hope for breaking stigmas around obesity and weight-loss medications.
“It should be yours to own and not to be shamed about it. As a person who’s been shamed for so many years, I’m just sick of it. I’m just sick of it. I’m just sick of it,” she said.
“And I hope this conversation begins the un-shaming.”