Dr. Linda Anegawa, a board-certified obesity medicine physician and Noom’s chief of medicine, said that the decision to offer GLP-1 agonists—the class of medicine that includes drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy and has made waves in the weight loss industry— is part of the company’s strategy to treat the disease of obesity.
“We’ve always been interested in chronic disease,” Anegawa said. “We saw weight really as a gateway to entry,” she added, as obesity can lead to other long-term illnesses.
Noom Med is only available for people with a BMI above 30, or individuals with a BMI over 27 who also have a diagnosed weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, dyslipidemia or high cholesterol. The company adheres to criteria set by the Food and Drug Administration for the prescribing of weight loss medicines, Anegawa said.
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Only individuals who subscribe to Noom’s weight loss app will be offered a Noom Med membership. Subscriptions to Noom Med will run patients $49 a month, on top of costs for the weight loss app which is priced on a scale between $70 a month and $209 a year.
Membership costs for Noom Med will not cover the costs of the medications.
The launch of Noom Med marks a significant shift in how the company approaches weight loss. Previously, Noom has advocated for non-pharmacological approaches to treating obesity, such as psychological support, health coaching and lifestyle changes.
“We have indexed heavily on the psychological aspects of weight loss and healthy weight maintenance,” Anegawa said. “But it is becoming more and more undeniable that biology and psychology go hand in hand.”
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Noom’s decision to prescribe GLP-1 agonists is just one example of a shift in scientific understanding and public discussions around obesity. Weight Watchers also made the move to offer these medications in March, citing scientific advancements in the weight loss industry and a need to address biological factors that contribute to the disease.
In addition to Noom Weight and Noom Med, the company has two other core businesses: Noom Mood, which provides stress management care, and Noom DPP, the company’s diabetes prevention program. Noom was founded in 2008.
This story first appeared in Crain’s New York Business.