FDA-approved weight loss drug for adults successful in children

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An estimated 33% of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight or obese. That’s 1 in 3. 

According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, there may be a promising new treatment to reduce these numbers. Scientists say the weight loss drug, semaglutide–first approved by the FDA for adults–may also be effective in children. 

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine looked at 201 overweight or obese boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18 and divided them into two groups. One group was given semaglutide injections. The other a placebo. They followed both groups for 16 months. Results showed 75 percent of the group taking semaglutide lost 5 percent of their body weight compared to the placebo group where 17 percent lost 5 percent of their body weight.

“Typically, we make lifestyle recommendations,” co-study author, Dr. Silva Arslanian, said in an interview. Eat more vegetables. Don’t eat fried food and don’t drink soda. It can be very hard to make those changes and it’s exciting to see this treatment becoming available.”

Obesity is linked to serious health problems including a high risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression and anxiety.