German Parliament Declares Obesity A Disease

Yesterday (July 3, 2020), the German parliament approved a rather comprehensive National Diabetes Strategy that clearly called out obesity as one of the principle root causes of diabetes and calls for its recognition as a disease in its own right.

The Strategy also calls on payers to support the creation of an infrastructure for obesity prevention and treatment within the public health care system, where people living with obesity are supported and treated respectfully and in compliance with current obesity management guidelines.

As pointed out by Alexander Krauss (CDU/CSU), “Today is an important milestone for people living with obesity – the recognition of their disease by the German Bundestag. People living with obesity are (currently) not adequately treated – when a patient with obesity goes to see their doctor, it is not enough to be told that they should eat less and move more – that is not an adequate treatment. There is a paucity of  professional ambulatory care, there is a paucity of educational programs, but there is also a paucity of sympathy for those affected as well as lack of information about this disease. The only thing that people living with obesity receive in abundance is scorn and ridicule……..We need obesity management by specialists and family doctors in ambulatory practice.”

The Strategy has the support of all ruling parties (CDU/CSU/SPD) and will now find its way into the regulatory framework.

While it has taken over six years to develop this joint strategy, its scope and focus on obesity prevention and management provides both perspective and hope.

One can now hopefully expect far-reaching changes to the way the German healthcare system supports the over 20 million German children and adults living with obesity.

Edmonton, AB