Are Weight Loss Pills The Next Reality?

I read the article ‘Weight loss pill which also helps you stay skinny is a step too far’ on news.com.au. The article discussed a new weight-loss pill that was somewhat effective in keeping lost-weight off, but also had high-impact side effects. 

In the study, 41 of the 103 participants in the trial discontinued the treatment due to side effects such as depression, dry mouth and sensations of skin burning.

This drug is currently being trailed to assess potential approval for use within Australia. So why would the drug even be considered for approval?

Because people want it!

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Some people will do anything to avoid the foundations of weight loss such as exercise and nutritional structure. They decide that this is too hard, and instead opt for a pill to suppress their appetite or maximise fat burning. The majority of these pills will do very little, and the effective pills generally come with adverse side effects.

The article mentions that 63% of Australian’s are either overweight or obese, which means this is the norm in Australia! This is a frightening statistic, especially when we consider our knowledge about the long-term health effects of these conditions.

Shouting about what is happening now is useless, what is more important is developing a solution, and I have an idea. Instead of prescribing weight loss pills or lap-band surgery, Australia should develop a system where overweight and obese patients have access to fitness and nutrition professionals.

Building overweight and obese specific recreational facilities would be a great step towards this, and would also provide a location for the fitness and nutrition professionals to operate. This system would allow fitness sessions and nutritional consultations to the patients in need. The exercise and nutrition professionals could also relay information to doctors regarding whether the patient is engaging in their fitness and nutrition programs or not.

This would allow doctors to have an expert opinion on whether patients have adhered to recommendation fitness and nutritional intervention, instead of relying on the patient’s word. A doctor can then make a more informed judgment about the next step in a patient’s treatment. If the patient has not responded to the fitness and nutrition intervention, then weight loss pills or lap-band surgery can be investigated.

But what about the cost?

That is a great point and an important consideration. The system I am describing would be expensive to set up the facilities and employ expert staff. However, the Medical Journal of Australia shows that overweight and obesity has a direct cost of $21 billion to Australia annually.

While it might be expensive to implement a new system, it could also save a lot of resources in the long term. It’s impossible to predict exactly how much money could be saved, but if the rates of overweight and obesity were to be reduced, I would expect the savings to be significant. 

This is not the perfect solution and the cost will always scare people away. However, at some stage we need to invest in a better system for managing overweight and obesity, as the current system is not working!