Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH: Discussing Obesity, Physical Activity, Weight Loss Drugs

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Another segment of her ACP 2024 interview featured a discussion on weight loss drugs, healthy living, and discussions with patients.

In another segment of her HCPLive interview at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Internal Medicine Meeting in Boston, Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH, discussed additional takeaways from she and her co-presenters’ talk titled ‘Annals Beyond the Guidelines: How Would You Treat this Patient with Obesity?’

Thorndike serves as an associate professor of medicine for the Division of General Internal Medicine of Massachusetts General Hospital as well as Harvard Medical School. In this talk, she described additional points on the subjects, beginning with a discussion of weight loss versus healthy living.

“I emphasize in my talk, and I will emphasize with my patients that it's not only about the weight loss,” Thorndike said. “Although we focus a lot on weight, the number of weight, how many pounds you lose, being regularly physically-active and eating a healthy diet, following your healthy dietary pattern, benefits your health even if you don't lose weight.”

Thorndike noted several statistics to support her points, highlighting the benefits of getting in more steps in a given day.

“There's a dose response with physical activity,” she explained. “So even going from 2000 steps to 5000 steps a day is going to be associated with improvements in health. One of the slides that I show shows that there's a decrease in mortality, as you gradually increase from 2000 steps up through 10,000 steps per day.”

Thorndike was also asked about the popular topic of weight loss drugs such as Ozempic.

“Clearly, the new medications have transformed what we can do to help our patients with obesity, so I don't in any way want to imply that I don't think these medications are going to benefit people,” Thorndike said. “Are they going to benefit everybody? No, not necessarily, but I do think that they are part of transforming what we can do. Now, as a person who has spent a large part of my career focused on prevention, I worry a little bit that we're going to take our eyes off of the prevention goals.”

Thorndike explained that treating individuals with obesity should, at least in part, be focused on the food environment and preventative care. Additionally, the cost of such medications, she noted, are highly expensive and inequitably available.

For further information on Thorndike’s presentation, view the full interview segment above.

The quotes used in this article were edited for clarity. Thorndike has no relationships with entities whose primary business is selling, producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.