German parliament recognises obesity as a disease

German parliament recognises obesity as a disease

We congratulate our German medical and scientific community and patient organisations on the official recognition of obesity as a chronic disease in Parliament. This was achieved in the context of the new comprehensive German National Diabetes Strategy. In the official statement, obesity is recognised as one of the root causes of diabetes and a call is issued for recognition of obesity as a disease.

The Strategy also calls on payers to support the creation of an infrastructure for obesity prevention and treatment within the public health care system, so that people living with obesity are treated respectfully and provided with access to obesity management services. Well done to the German Obesity Alliance for collaborating to make this a reality for people living with obesity in Germany.

EASO strongly urges the German government to support and implement financing for this important initiative.

Read the translated text of the speech by Member of Parliament Alexander Krauß (CDU/CSU):

“Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Diabetes does not come like lightning out of the blue, but has a history. It may be a genetic predisposition, but it is often caused by a lack of exercise, unhealthy nutrition and the resulting obesity. Every fourth German is obese, i.e. very overweight. Our proposal deals with the topic of obesity.

Diabetes is the disease that is rightly in the spotlight today. However, it is also important that we look at the root of diabetes, which is hidden and little noticed in the soil, namely obesity. Obesity is the root from and on which diabetes grows. It’s like weeds: if you just pull out the dandelion leaves, it doesn’t do much good. You have to deal with the root, and that is what we are doing in our motion today. Obesity is not yet recognised as a disease in Germany, unlike in most European countries, in the United States or at the World Health Organisation. In the motion we refer to obesity as a disease. Today a very important milestone has been reached for obesity sufferers: the recognition of their disease by the German Bundestag.

Ladies and gentlemen, people suffering from obesity are inadequately treated; our colleague Mrs Dittmar referred to this. It is not enough for a patient to go to the doctor and have him or her simply tell them to eat a little less and exercise a little more. That is not sufficient therapy. There is a lack of interdisciplinary, professional outpatient treatment. There is a lack of training programmes for patients. But there is also a lack of understanding for those affected and of information about the disease. Unfortunately, the only thing that the affected people experience in abundance is mockery and ridicule. We will not resign ourselves to this, and we will now also work to ensure that something changes in this country.
What do we need? We finally need care for people with obesity by family doctors and specialists that is worthy of its name, first and foremost decent outpatient treatment. In recent months, the German Obesity Alliance has been founded, in which those affected, doctors, health insurance companies, drug manufacturers, the pension insurance company are all involved, with the aim of helping people with obesity rather than being beaten to death with precocious advice. If you also want to help these people, then I ask you to vote in favour of our motion today.

Thank you very much, Mr President.”

Watch the speech in German: