The New England Journal of Medicine recently published findings that revealed if Liraglutide, a diabetes drug, in combination with diet and exercise, could help obese individuals to reduce their body weight and improve metabolic control.

More than one-third (34.9 percent or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. When ethnicity and race are concerned, non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity (47.8 percent) followed by Hispanics (42.5 percent), non-Hispanic whites (32.6 percent) and non-Hispanic Asians (10.8 percent).

Approximately 22.4 percent of Latino children ages 2 to 19 are obese, compared with 14.3 percent of white children. By ages 6 to 11, 26.1 percent of Latino children are obese, compared with 13.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites. Upsurges in the rate of obesity have resulted in serious health consequences, such as stroke, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Obesity can strip years from an individual's lifespan, but shedding as little as five to 10 percent of one's weight can make medical issues more manageable.

Researchers conducted a 56-week, double blind trial involving 3,731 patients who did not have type 2-diabetes, but had a body-mass index of at least 30, or a BMI of at least 27 with the conditions dyslipidemia or hypertension. The randomized controlled trial conducted was at 191 sites in 27 countries across the world.

Liraglutide was injected into the stomachs of participants each morning before breakfast. Two-thirds were given the drug plus training to improve habits. Remaining participants followed the same lifestyle intervention but they were given a placebo. The research stated that the combination of weight loss and improved glycemic control would likely reduce the prevalence of pre-diabetes in participants, delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Under observation, it was discovered that those who received 3 milligrams of the drug averaged around three times more weight loss than the placebo group, who lost an average of six pounds. Approximately 63 percent of the Liraglutide group lost at least 5 percent of their body weight, compared to 27 percent of the placebo group.

The study found that the appetite suppressant could be used to treat diabetes, as well as an anti-obesity supplement used in addition to clinically meaningful weight loss through diet and exercise. Nonetheless, gallbladder-related events were more common in the Liraglutide group than the placeblo group.

The drug Liraglutide was made available in the U.S. in early 2015, after receiving FDA approval in December. That said, Liraglutide's side effects include gastrointestinal distress, gallstones and a slight increase in breast cancer risk.