Anne Peters: The Year in Diabetes

Anne L. Peters, MD; Mark Harmel, MPH


December 10, 2013

In This Article

Obesity Rates Climb; Will New Drugs Help?

The battle of the bulge continues, as obesity rates in the United States showed the largest year-over-year increase since 2009, bringing the rate up to 27.2%. The increase is across almost all demographic groups, and although there is a slight reduction in the normal and overweight groups, the obese population (body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2) continues to grow.

The American Medical Association (AMA) weighed in on the debate about whether obesity is a disease (it is), and their conclusion is expected to draw attention to the condition and improve reimbursement for obesity drugs, surgery, and counseling.

Manufacturers of 2 new obesity drugs that could stand to benefit from the new recognition (Qsymia® from Vivus, and Belviq® from Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai) have entered the market in the last year. The clinical trials[15,16] for these drugs showed efficacy in weight loss and a reduction in diabetes and prediabetes. I have prescribed these agents with some success, but reimbursement issues make it tough.

I hope that the AMA move will prompt physicians to treat obesity more seriously and provide more counseling to their patients. In addition, we need to move outside the examination room to create an impact on the environment that breeds this disease.[17]


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