Oprah’s weight-loss company is pushing Ozempic — leaving serious dieters scoffing

Oprah’s weight-loss company is pushing Ozempic — leaving serious dieters scoffing


Injection? Objection!

Some WeightWatchers participants are crying foul over a decision by the die-hard diet organization — which helped Oprah Winfrey shed 40 pounds — to offer Ozempic to members on a subscription basis.

The decision to legitimize the trendy, quick-fix semaglutide injectable follows the de-chub club’s steep decline in market value and subscriber count in recent years — down to 3.9 million from 5 million in the first quarter of 2021.

WeightWatchers is well-known for the use of a points system that tracks food intake. It has long advertised itself as a sustainable alternative to crash diets and fads like detox teas. Winfrey is a partner and board member in WW International, the brand’s parent company.

The move comes amid an organizational pivot to online services. Weight Watchers said in March that it would be acquiring the telehealth platform Sequence, which will give calorie counters access to subscription-based weight-loss drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus.


A pharmacist holds Ozempic boxes.
Ozempic has made headlines as its popularity as a weight-loss drug increases, amid concerns about health and safety.
REUTERS

The decision isn’t sitting well in the stomachs of some of the brand’s long-time believers.

TikTok influencer Sophia Cosentino Pezzuti, 23, regularly posts about her journey with WeightWatchers for an audience of 30,000 followers, mostly involving content about what she eats in a day.

“A lot of WeightWatchers creators got lots of comments and questions about this when it first came out,” Pezzuti told Rolling Stone.

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A WeightWatchers box advertises pasta.
WeightWatchers, founded in 1963, unveiled its plan to offer Ozempic and similar drugs on a subscription basis to users hopping to shed some pounds.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“The level of conversation around these medicines feeling so big can sometimes make it seem like, ‘Oh, this is going to change everything now,’ ” she said.

Along with other GLP-1 weight loss medications like Wegovy, Ozempic has found itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons during recent months.

Originally created for type II diabetics, and not officially approved for weight-loss usage, the injectibles have earned a reputation as get-thin-quick schemes for wealthy celebs who can cough up the cash for the pricey shots, not covered by many insurance plans.

WeightWatchers CEO Sima Sistani defended the introduction of Ozempic and Wegovy, citing the “responsibility” of the company “to support those interested in exploring if medications are right for them.”

One WeightWatchers fan who was prescribed Ozempic for her diabetes told a reporter that using the drug does nothing to foster the healthy lifestyle that WW ostensibly promotes.

“The only reason I’m on Ozempic is because it lets me take fast-acting insulin with my meals,” said influencer Biz Velantini, who first started using WeightWatchers in 1999.

“But when I saw that WeightWatchers was [partnering with Sequence] that just rubbed me the wrong way, because I think that everyone’s looking for the quick fix.

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“People have unrealistic expectations about how weight loss works,” Velantini said.



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