Nearly half of obese teenagers saw a reduction in their weight after taking Wegovy/Ozempic, according to a study.

Nearly half of obese teenagers saw a reduction in their weight after taking Wegovy/Ozempic, according to a study.

Weight Loss Injections: A Game-Changer for Obese Teens


In the battle against obesity, weight loss injections are gaining popularity, and their effectiveness is no longer restricted to adults. Groundbreaking research funded by Novo Nordisk, the maker of Wegovy and Ozempic, has revealed that these injections may also be game-changers in helping obese teenagers achieve a healthy weight. The study demonstrated that nearly half of all teenagers receiving semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, were able to attain a healthy weight within 17 months.

Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that works by slowing digestion, reducing hunger, curbing food intake, and promoting weight loss. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating obesity in individuals aged 12 and older, Wegovy has shown great promise in combating weight-related issues in both adolescents and adults. Ozempic, on the other hand, has received approval at a lower dose for treating type 2 diabetes.

According to Aaron Kelly, co-director of the Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, “Semaglutide appears to be highly effective in helping teens reduce their body mass index (BMI) to a level below the clinical cutoff for obesity.” The study recommends that pharmacotherapy should be offered to all eligible adolescents with obesity.

To conduct the study, teenagers with high BMIs were divided into two groups: one group received 2.4 mg of semaglutide on a weekly basis, while the other group received a placebo injection. Both groups were advised to engage in 60 minutes of daily exercise and provided guidance on maintaining a healthy diet. The results were striking, with 45% of teenagers who received semaglutide achieving weight loss significant enough to move them from the obese category to either normal weight or overweight. By contrast, only 12% of the placebo group achieved the same outcome.

Remarkably, these improvements were observed across different genders, ages, and even in teenagers with severe obesity. The side effects experienced were consistent with those seen in adults, including common occurrences of nausea and vomiting.

The study, recently published in the journal Obesity, has garnered enthusiasm from experts in the field. Dr. Susma Vaidya, a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital’s Improving Diet, Energy, and Activity for Life (IDEAL) Clinic in Washington, D.C., expresses her excitement regarding the study’s findings. “This is great evidence of the importance and value of weight-loss medication in teens,” she says. The study authors also found that younger teenagers with lower weight, BMI, and waist circumference experienced greater improvement in their BMI categories. Dr. Vaidya suggests that these medications should be considered earlier for maximum effectiveness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reinforces the use of weight-loss medications, stating in its latest guidelines on childhood obesity treatment that children with obesity should be evaluated and treated early and aggressively, including with medications. It should be noted that the decision to pursue weight loss medication for teenagers should involve a thorough discussion with a doctor. Factors such as the presence of obesity-related conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure play a crucial role in this decision-making process.

Despite the promise these injections hold, Dr. Vaidya emphasizes that they are not a magical solution to weight loss. “The foundation is lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise,” she stresses. The medications serve as an effective complement to a comprehensive approach when combatting obesity.

For those concerned about the long-term effects of stopping medication, it is important to note that weight regain is a possibility. The exact timing and amount of weight regain vary due to the numerous factors that impact weight, making it challenging to predict.

In conclusion, weight loss injections such as Wegovy and Ozempic have proven to be transformative for obese teenagers looking to achieve a healthy weight. With nearly half of the participants achieving significant weight loss, these medications have become valuable tools in the fight against adolescent obesity. By offering improved physical health and a chance at a better future, these injections demonstrate the importance of early intervention and comprehensive treatment in addressing childhood obesity.