Obesity

Obesity, which is medically defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of over 30, is consistently cited as a major contributor to increasing rates of serious health problems among Americans, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

It has been defined as both a disease and an epidemic, with an estimated prevalence of over 41%.

Social media has been a place to both discuss and contest the mainstream discussions about obesity. What is being said?

Search Trends

The Trends Section provides an overview of some of the most recent and relevant topics that relate to particular health conditions.

It features a selection of the topics that have the fastest growing Google search interest across the last three months, and reflects the inquiries of patients, healthcare providers, scientists, and others who are invested in the topic.

This is valuable to understand people’s interests and concerns at the present moment, and often include the U.S. states that have the highest interest in a topic. 

Quilt.AI brings these trends to life through an analysis that incorporates both cultural and scientific lenses.

When people are looking to manage obesity, what are the drugs they’re thinking about?

What’s trending on search for Obesity?

Search interest for Mounjaro™ (Tirzepatide) for weight loss  grew by 1130% over the last 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022. 

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1. Mounjaro™ for type-2 diabetes - and potentially obesity

The increase in search interest for Mounjaro is attributable to its recent approval by the FDA for type-2 diabetes. Further studies have shown promising results as a weight loss drug

While there is an increase in interest towards the weight loss effects of the drug, users are also concerned with its potential side effects and efficacy. This is seen in searches comparing the efficacy and side effects of Mounjaro with those of other brands like Ozempic and Wegovy.

2. Keto F1 supplement for plant-based, gluten-free weight loss

Keto F1 is keto-based dietary supplement that help the body reach ketosis, by increasing the level of ketones in the body in order to burn more fats and generate more energy. 

The increase in search interest around this supplement is representative of consumers’ shift towards natural solutions - Keto F1 is 100% plant-based and gluten-free

Most of the searches are around Keto F1 reviews. With the wide selection of weight loss drugs in the market, the risk of landing on a fake product is something consumers always face. They are therefore careful, and seek comprehensive understanding of the product before purchase. 

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Search interest for Keto F1 supplement grew by 102% over the last 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022.

Search interest for many One Secret Mineral weight loss pill grew by 52% from May 2022 to July 2022.

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3. One Secret Mineral weight loss pills - the secret to weight loss?

The One Secret Mineral weight loss pill was discovered by Harvard Medical School student Emily Senstrom. The pill contains a mix of “secret” minerals and vitamins, which work together to block the absorption of fat, and speed up the metabolism.  

Even though studies have shown some promising results, there is still a lack of long-term studies to prove efficacy and safety. At the same time, many also experience a range of side effects, from nausea and diarrhea to headaches. As such, many of the searches around this pill are for reviews, and information on its effectiveness and side effects.

4. Acxion - a last recourse for quick weight loss

Search interest for Acxion pills surged in June 2022, after a study was published on how Phentermine, an active ingredient in the pill, is used for short term weight loss. There was a  growing interest in how it works, its effectiveness and where to buy the pill.

The main ingredient in Acxion is phentermine -- a chemical stimulant that acts as an appetite suppressant. Phentermine is usually prescribed to those who are unable to lose weight through usual non-chemical methods like exercise and dieting. Acxion pills are not OTC drugs, and only prescribed to those who are “medically obese”, with BMIs higher than 30.

People are worried about the potential side effects of the pill. This is evident in searches like “are acxion pills dangerous” and “are acxion pills fda approved”. 

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Search interest for Acxion pills grew by 325% in June 2022

Search interest for Sarcopenic Obesity grew by 342% over the last 3 months, from May 2022 to July 2022.

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5. Sarcopenic obesity increasingly comes for the young

Sarcopenic obesity is the confluence of two epidemics - the aging of the population and the obesity epidemic. It is characterized by obesity with decreased muscle mass and function, which is traditionally prevalent in the older population. 

Interestingly, despite the usual older demographics of sarcopenic obesity patients, there are more men in the 25-34 age group looking up the condition. 

A recent study found an increasing prevalence of sarcopenic obesity in children and adolescents. The condition is associated with adverse health outcomes. This could explain the observed skew towards younger information-seekers.  

Obesity in Culture

The Culture Section highlights emerging cultural trends, new products, and notable dialogue about a variety of health conditions. The purpose of this section is to zoom in on what has been happening within the cultural and professional landscape of a particular health condition–stories that are often missed by quantitative searches.

By featuring influential social media items, patient discourse, professional dialogue, product innovations, and impactful news items, this section illuminates the lived experiences of many patients, while also providing a snapshot of the developments happening around them. 

Here, Quilt.AI offers a detailed and nuanced perspective of what is new and what is meaningful.

1. Debunking weight loss myths that are often misunderstood and oversimplified on TikTok

The notion that losing weight is just “calorie in, calorie out” is an oversimplification that many people – including some fitness instructors – preach. This is often misleading and unfair, since obesity is actually a lot more complex, and can be tied to genetics, psychological and occupational factors.

Several nutritionists and endocrinologists have used TikTok to debunk these myths and offer their expertise to provide more accurate and reliable information on cutting fat. These cover multiple areas across cause and treatment. The availability of a wide spectrum of information on TikTok almost makes it a “medical encyclopedia”, where users can turn to when searching for information and tips on fat and weight loss.

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2. Embracing “fat acceptance” to challenge the stigmatisation of obesity

The stigmatisation of obesity is prevalent in society, and negative qualities are often associated with obesity. The Fat Acceptance Movement aims to counter harmful stereotypes of overweight bodies as lazy, unattractive and lacking in willpower and hygiene. 

On TikTok, there are more and more advocates for embracing the plus-sized and obesity acceptance. On videos with hashtags like #bodypositivity, #loveyourbody and #beautybeyondsize, fatter people are proudly showing off their bodies. They have also created a “plus-sized” side of TikTok called “thicktok”, where users share fashion or beauty advice for other plus-sized individuals.

@kenziebrenna a day in the life of promoting obesity, just a reg day! #health #healthyliving #broccoli #livingthedream ♬ original sound - kenzie

3.  Fighting against “fatphobia” on World Obesity Day

World Obesity Day is observed on March 4 and is intended to encourage healthy practices and offer solutions to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight, undertake proper treatment and reverse the “obesity crisis”. 

However, on Instagram, it is being challenged using #bodypostivity posts - where people use this day as an opportunity to speak out against the stigmatization of obesity, and emphasize the importance of “being comfortable in their own skin”. 

There is a need and opportunity for open dialogue between the body positivity movement and obesity specialists, to promote physical health while addressing the negative effects of the fat-shaming that continues to be prevalent in society.

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4. Inspirational stories emphasize the importance of weight loss on physical and mental health

Many people are sharing their weight loss journeys on TikTok. Some have gone from being morbidly obese with BMIs over 40 to successfully hitting a healthy BMI level, they document each milestone of their body transformation journey and what they feel when they achieve their new bodies.

These netizens emphasize the emotional aspects of their transformations and reiterate how getting fitter led to better mental health. They also highlighted that while fitness is important, it should not be at the expense of an individual’s mental and physical health. 

Content like this is important as it provides tangible evidence that real transformation can be achieved, thus inspiring others. 

5. Debate around “fat acceptance” brings the focus back to health

As opposed to TikTok and Instagram, where body-positivity discourse is prevalent, Twitter is dominated by discourse that frames body positivity as potentially counterproductive and even detrimental to the health of patients and plus-sized individuals. 

The topic has been highly controversial, with people who equate obesity with poor health on one side of the divide, and those who believe that obesity is based on a flawed metric on the other. There is an opportunity to close this divide by re-visiting and updating the science around obesity, to provide more nuanced health guidance to the increasing number of obese people globally.