Barbra Streisand publicly asks Melissa McCarthy about Ozempic, sparking debate on weight and shaming

A comment left by Barbra Streisand on an Instagram post shared by Melissa McCarthy sparked a conversation about weight, shame and the increasingly widespread use of weight loss medications.

McCarthy, 53, shared two photos on Sunday of herself with director Adam Shankman attending a gala in Los Angeles over the weekend.

In the comments section, Streisand, 82, responded to McCarthy’s photos by writing, “Give him my regards,” referring to Shankman, before adding, “did you take Ozempic?”

Streisand’s comment, which has since been deleted, was captured by Instagram account Comments by Celebs, which posted a screenshot of the comment on its own Instagram page, writing: “Babs!!”

In a follow-up post on her Instagram Story a few hours later, Streisand publicly responded to the comment, writing, “OMG I went on Instagram to see the photos we posted of the beautiful flowers I received for my birthday Below them was a photo of my friend Melissa McCarthy who I sang with on my album Encore. She was fantastic, I just wanted to pay her a compliment, I forgot everyone was reading!

McCarthy and Streisand have worked together in the past, including as a duo in 2016.

ABC News has reached out to McCarthy’s representative for comment.

Streisand’s comment, which came from her verified Instagram account, quickly led to a debate on social media about shame around medications used for weight loss, including Ozempic.

“Why do people who haven’t suffered from obesity care so much – who cares Barbara? Whether she did or not is none of your concern,” one commenter wrote, adding , “and even if it was supposed to be a DM – still rude!”

“Ozempic admits or keeps silent!!” another commenter wrote. “No celebrity has admitted to losing more than 40 pounds in all the articles written around the world. No one wants to admit that they have been on medication for a year, lost 6 sizes and are trying to ‘explain that he only lost 40 pounds.

Over the past two years, medications that can lead to weight loss, including Ozempic as well as Zepbound, Wegovy and Mounjaro, have become more widely available and gained popularity.

Ozempic and Mounjaro are both approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat type 2 diabetes, but some doctors prescribe the drug “off-label” for weight loss, as allowed by the FDA.

Wegovy and Zepbound, which contain the same active ingredients as Ozempic and Mounjaro respectively, are each approved by the FDA as a weight loss management treatment for obese people or those who are overweight with at least one related underlying condition, such as high blood pressure. pressure.

As the landscape of obesity medicine has changed over the past two years, the public perception that obesity is a chronic disease has apparently struggled to keep pace.

People who take weight loss medications, including Oprah Winfrey, have publicly expressed feelings of shame for taking what some have called the “easy way out” to lose weight.

“The fact that there is a medically approved prescription to manage my weight and stay healthier, over the course of my life, feels like a relief, a redemption, a gift, not something to hide behind and be at a loss for. ridiculed again,” Winfrey said during her first visit. publicly confirmed that she was taking medication to help her maintain her weight.

Although McCarthy has spoken publicly in the past about her weight loss journey and experiences with body shaming, she has not spoken publicly about Ozempic or other weight loss medications.

In a 2016 interview, the “Bridesmaids” actress said she never wanted weight to be “the most interesting thing” about her.

“I’ll be up and down, probably for the rest of my life,” she told Refinery29 about her weight. “The fact is, if that’s the most interesting thing about me, I need to go have a lavender farm in Minnesota and give it up.”

McCarthy continued: “There has to be something more. There are so many more intriguing things about women than their butts or their this or their that. It can’t be the first question every time, nor a question at all.”

What Doctors Say About Weight and Shame

If the subject of weight continues to have such a hold on society, it is probably because it is both so universal and so visible, in that people can notice weight loss or gain, say obesity medicine specialists.

Obesity is a disease that affects nearly 42 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity has been linked to conditions such as strokes and heart attacks, hypertension, breathing difficulties, sleep apnea and an increased risk of premature death.

“The reality is, yes, obesity is a disease, but unlike other diseases, it is visible. That’s part of the problem,” said Dr. Caroline Apovian, endocrinologist and co-director of the Center for Weight Management and well-being at the University of Toronto. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told ABC News. “And it’s not a disease that affects one in a million people. It affects 42 percent of adult Americans.”

Apovian said the fact that obesity affects so many people may make the topic more accessible, even though it is a medical condition that warrants confidentiality.

“Many famous people talk about their battles with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease or obesity,” she said. “But in this case, there’s a nuance here, because you would never think to comment on someone’s photo and say, ‘Hey, I see you don’t have breast cancer . Have you had chemo?’”

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, an obesity medicine physician scientist and educator at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, echoed Apovian’s comments that obesity is a “visible” medical condition.

Stanford argues that it is not “fair” for people to ask questions or pass judgment on how an individual deals with their health problem, even if it is visible to the public.

“We should not be able to make judgments about how someone chose to treat this illness, whether they chose to change their lifestyle or behavior, whether they chose medications, or whether they chose metabolic or bariatric surgery or, for many of my patients, all of the above,” Stanford told ABC News. “The people who chose these strategies owe no one an explanation as to how, why, or when they chose to use these strategies to combat their chronic illness of obesity.”

Stanford said society’s acceptance of talking about people’s weight may be linked to misconceptions about obesity, which she describes as a chronic, relapsing illness resulting from a person’s genetic makeup.

Similarly, medications used for weight loss are often mislabeled as the “easy way out” because they can be misunderstood, according to Stanford.

The drugs work by mimicking a hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1, known as GLP-1, which is produced by the small intestine and helps transmit satiety signals throughout the body.

The active ingredient in Mounjaro and Zepbound, tirzepatide, works by activating two hormone receptors: GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, or GIP.

In Ozempic and Wegovy, the active ingredient, semaglutide, works by activating only the GLP-1 receptor.

“I think a lot of people don’t know that every human who has been born and lived has GLP-1 in their body,” Stanford said. “Those of us who have a thinner body as a baseline simply have more GLP-1 to begin with. Those of us who are simply not born with this privilege need more of this, and perhaps achieve this form of medicine.

Stanford said it is wrong to criticize or question people who use medications to lose weight because it is tantamount to blaming them for a “physiological dysfunction.”

“I don’t care if you’re a celebrity or an average patient without celebrity status, I don’t think we should judge people on what they take or don’t take,” Stanford said. “Some of us don’t have the same privilege as others to have a fully functioning body, so let’s give others a chance.”

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News Source : abcnews.go.com


With a penchant for words, Eleon Smith began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, Smith landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, Eleon also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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