People with Obesity Share Perspectives on Weight Loss and GLP-1 Medications in Survey from Ro and the Obesity Action Coalition
Survey offers insights on weight loss motivations, experiences, and interest in new GLP-1s
April 26, 2023 – Ro, the leading direct-to-patient healthcare company, and the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), today released the results of a nationwide survey of adults living with obesity. The survey reveals people with obesity’s perspectives on the benefits of weight loss, their motivations and prior attempts to lose weight, and their satisfaction with those efforts and in-person care. The survey also details what people with obesity know about new glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists medications as well as their interest in using medication to lose weight.
The survey found that people with obesity are highly motivated to lose weight and are most often driven by a desire to improve their health and quality of life:
87% have tried to lose weight in the past five years, and they have tried an average of 3 different weight loss methods;
The top reasons they try to lose weight are: to live a longer, healthier life (67%); due to concerns about their overall health (67%); to change the way that they look (56%); to prevent or reduce a chronic condition such as diabetes or hypertension (45%).
The results also spotlighted the continued biases and challenges that people with obesity often face. We found that among people with obesity:
50% would prefer to work from home due to feeling insecure or judged by their body weight in person;
49% have been teased, treated unfairly, or discriminated against because of their weight by in-person healthcare providers.
“People with obesity have often struggled with the disease for years, if not most of their adult lives. Often this is because of the healthcare system’s misunderstanding of obesity and how best to treat it. As we embark on a new era of obesity care, it’s critical we start with an understanding of who we’re helping and what their goals are, so we can work together to achieve them,” said Zachariah Reitano, Co-founder and CEO of Ro.
Despite their challenges, the survey indicated that people with obesity are willing to make commitments and changes to their daily lives to achieve weight loss and maintain it:
82% would maintain a diet and exercise program even after reaching their ideal body weight;
44% would change jobs to gain coverage for obesity treatment, while 51% would stay at a job they didn’t like to retain coverage.
“People with obesity often blame themselves when they do not respond to a treatment, and in return, feel like a failure. We need to recognize that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treating this disease. People diagnosed with obesity deserve access to safe and effective care,” said Joe Nadglowski, President and CEO of the OAC.
GLP-1s treatments are dominating the discourse around obesity and weight loss, and our survey found that the treatments are getting the attention and piquing the interest of people with obesity:
68% have heard of at least one GLP-1 medication, and they are most likely to have heard about it on TV (56%) or from a doctor or nurse (24%);
Among those who have heard of them, 60% are interested in treatment with GLP-1 medications to lose weight;
Among those who are interested, 78% would be willing to take medication for the rest of their lives to maintain their ideal weight.
At the same time, the results show that people with obesity still have questions about the medications, their costs, and access to them:
57% who have heard of GLP-1s don’t feel they know where to access them, while 52% don’t feel they can afford treatment with them.
“Stigma too often follows people with obesity throughout their lives, from work to the doctor’s office. Changing this is critical to helping people with obesity live the quality of life they desire and deserve,” said Melynda Barnes, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Ro. “With some of the most effective obesity treatments ever now available, it’s essential that we continue to educate people about GLP-1s, expand access to the treatments, as well as the provider-led care that makes them most effective.”
The survey was fielded with market respondents from a third party panel of 1,022 total participants of which 53% were living with obesity (BMI >30). Respondents were adults (18+) nationally representative of race and age with 62% female and 37% male. Respondents are not known to be current Ro patients, and were provided incentives for participating in the survey.
To read the full results, visit: https://ro.co/weight-loss/obesity-and-GLPs-survey/
About Ro: Ro is a direct-to-patient healthcare company with a mission of helping patients achieve their health goals by delivering the most convenient and effective care possible. Ro is the only company to offer telehealth, diagnostics, labs, and pharmacy services nationwide. This is enabled by Ro's vertically integrated platform that helps patients achieve their goals through an end-to-end healthcare experience spanning from diagnosis, to delivery of medication, to ongoing care. Since 2017, Ro has helped millions of patients in nearly every single county in the United States, including 98% of primary care deserts. Visit Ro.co for more information.
About the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC): The Obesity Action Coalition is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating and empowering individuals affected by obesity through education, advocacy and support. We work to raise awareness of and eliminate weight bias and discrimination in healthcare, education, media and the workplace; fight to improve access to science-based treatment and care of obesity for those who choose to seek it; and provide support through education and community events. Visit https://www.obesityaction.org/ for more information.