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The Battle Against Obesity: Hope on the Horizon?

October 26, 2009
8:24 am

An upcoming edition of the British medical journal The Lancet will feature the results of research into a new diabetes drug that is demonstrating significant progress in helping obese patients lose weight and reduce their blood pressure.

The drug liraglutide, developed by Novo Nordisk, has been the subject of testing by the department of human nutrition at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.  Weight loss of more than five percent, over a 20-week timeframe, occurred in 76 percent of the patients taking the drug.  Additional studies are now needed to investigate the long-term benefits and risks of the medications, the study’s authors wrote.

Pharmaceutical progress in this arena is critical in the drive to boost societal health and control healthcare costs.  Almost 75 cents of every healthcare dollar is spent to fight chronic disease, with obesity being a leading driver of chronic illnesses like diabetes, diabetes and heart disease.  The Lancet  study noted that about half of Europeans and two-thirds of U.S. citizens are currently overweight.

Of course, new pharmaceutical innovations can’t be the only solution to global obesity issues.  As Healthcare Leadership Council members have noted, health reform needs to include a strong emphasis on prevention and wellness.  As well, there needs to be a public-private effort to improve health literacy within the general population and encourage healthier lifestyles.

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