Here’s What Americans Think of Weight Loss Drugs

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Written By Robby Macaay

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Not every major medical innovation breaks through to the general public. But the buzzy weight loss drugs for people with obesity or Type 2 diabetes certainly have.

About 75% of Americans have heard of Ozempic, Wegovy and other brands of anti-obesity drugs, according to the results of a new Pew Research Center survey. (Wegovy and Zepbound are specifically approved to treat obesity, while Ozempic and Mounjaro are approved to treat people with Type 2 diabetes and can help them lose weight.)

The survey included more than 10,000 people of different ages, genders, races, ethnicities, education levels and political affiliations who were randomly recruited to answer online questions about obesity and the new class of anti-obesity medications.

Among those familiar with the drugs, 53% said they were good weight-loss options for people with obesity, while 28% were unsure—and 62% said they were not good options for people without a weight-related health condition. That last stat reflects the controversial, widely publicized trend of people without these conditions taking the drugs as a quick way to lose weight.

Read More: More Weight Loss Drugs Are Coming, and They Could Be Even More Effective

When asked what impact the drugs would have on reducing obesity in America, 35% thought they would do “not much” or “nothing at all,” and only 16% thought the medications would do “a great deal” or “quite a bit.” “Those expectations are fairly modest and could change, since these medications are still fairly new,” says Alec Tyson, associate director of science and society research at the Pew Research Center.

But the survey shows that “the public has a nuanced take on the factors that influence weight,” Tyson says. Most survey respondents (57%) said diet affects a person’s weight “a great deal,” with exercise following as the next most important factor at 43%. Many (36%) said that stress and anxiety affected weight “a great deal,” and 22% said genetics did. Past research has found that all of these factors matter. An even larger percentage, 65%, acknowledged that willpower is not enough to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

That’s where anti-obesity medications could play a role, says Tyson. “The survey suggests there is a fair amount of openness among Americans for this new group of drugs designed to address food cravings to address obesity and overweight in this country.”

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