The Upper East Side is known as one of the wealthiest and healthiest neighborhoods in New York City. It has high life expectancies and low rates of diabetes and obesity. However, recent data shows that the residents of this neighborhood are becoming even thinner, with a high usage rate of injectable weight loss and diabetes medications.
According to an analysis by Trilliant Health, last year, about 2.3 percent of people living in the Upper East Side and surrounding areas were taking these medications, the highest rate in the city. In contrast, some parts of Brooklyn, where diabetes and obesity are more prevalent, had a usage rate of just over half of that in the Upper East Side.
The analysis also revealed a divide along socioeconomic lines in terms of access to these medications. While some of the wealthiest parts of the city had high usage rates, predominantly minority neighborhoods mainly saw these medications being used by people with diabetes. This suggests that fewer patients in these neighborhoods are receiving the medications for weight loss alone.
Access to these medications is becoming a disparity, with Medicaid generally not covering them for weight loss purposes. Commercial insurance plans sometimes cover these medications for weight loss as well as diabetes, giving those with commercial insurance greater access.
These medications hold promise for reducing obesity and diabetes, which disproportionately affect minority communities. However, for now, access to these medications is limited by factors such as insurance coverage and availability.
The Trilliant Health analysis provides a detailed look at who in New York City is using these medications, but it has some limitations. It grouped neighborhoods together and only had access to prescriptions that went through insurance, potentially undercounting the number of people using these medications.
Overall, the usage of weight loss and diabetes medications is increasing in the city, with more men seeking these treatments in recent months. These medications are already influencing the city's social scene, with people finding alternative activities to food-centered outings.
In conclusion, while the Upper East Side remains one of the wealthiest and healthiest neighborhoods in New York City, the usage of weight loss and diabetes medications is on the rise. However, access to these medications remains unequal, with disparities along socioeconomic lines.