Social media is fueling enthusiasm for new weight loss drugs. Are regulators watching?CBS News, April 18, 2023 
An in-depth look at the non-stop hype (and even misinformation) around the new weight loss drugs  Ozempic and Wegovy. And at how competition to claim a market that could be worth $100 billion a year for drugmakers alone has triggered a wave of advertising that has provoked the concern of regulators and doctors worldwide. The article explores the many issues that have arisen, from people storming doctors’ offices seeking the drugs (driven by the results of celebs on TikTok) to spas and telemedicine operators offering compounded semaglutide, when it could be risky. Governments are starting to take action: for instance, Australian regulators have taken down 1,900 ads for improperly plugging various GLP-1 agonists.  

A silent crisis in men’s health gets worse The Washington Post, April 17, 2023 
Across their lifespanfrom infancy to the teen years, midlife and old ageboys and men are more likely to die than girls and women. This longevity gap is a global phenomenon that’s only getting worse. The article details the many possible factorsfrom men underutilizing healthcare and preventative care compared to women, to men engaging in more risky behaviors, to cultural biases around masculinity that teach boys and men to hide their feelings. Experts note an “empathy gap”: people just shrugging and saying men just die younger. But new attention and resources could change the outcomes for men.

Britain’s diet is more deadly than Covid The Times UK, March 24, 2023    
In his new book Ravenous: How to Get Ourselves and Our Planet into Shape, author Henry Dimbleby provides incontrovertible evidence that the damage done by our current food system will soon become politically and economically unsustainable. In the UK, ultra-processed food (packaged, industrially-processed products high in calories and low in nutrients) makes up 57% of the population diet. As a result, 60% of adults are overweight or obese, and by 2060 that proportion is expected to reach 80%. The problem is global. Pretty much everywhere, the food system is creating a huge health crisis, “yet politicians are too worried about nannying and too in thrall to business to act.” Think of this: in 1950 under 1% of the UK population was clinically obese, vs. 28% today. “Are we to believe that, in the intervening years, the population has suffered a massive collapse of willpower? Of course not. Humans have not changed. The food system has.” Only government intervention can fix this.

The friendship recession Big Think, April 2023 
The senior fellow at the Brookings Institution discusses the importance of friendships and the growing “friendship recession” (with a focus on the US, where 15% of young men today report having no close friends, compared to 3% in the 1990s). He observes that loneliness can be as harmful as smoking, but quantifying friendships is difficult. In his opinion, an ideal number of close friends is around three or four. 

A Striking Stat

In the Americas (North, Central and South America) nearly half of all adults47% of men and 49% of womenare expected to be obese by 2025, the highest rate of any global region. The annual economic cost: $1.5 trillion 

 Source: World Obesity Federation, March 2023 

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