Both overweight and obesity and the number of new cases of diabetes mellitus type 2 have been continuously increasing in Germany for years. It is no coincidence that these developments are occurring in parallel, because obesity is one of the most important risk factors for this type of diabetes. Experts from the German Diabetes Society (Deutsche Diabetes Gesellschaft, DDG) discussed at the annual press conference on 2 March 2021 which measures must also be taken from the political side in order to reduce the widespread disease of obesity - and thus also diabetes.
People with obesity are six to ten times more likely to be affected by type 2 diabetes than those of normal weight - and already around one in five deaths in Germany is linked to diabetes. "These figures alone should be reason enough to finally take political action against the steady increase in obesity and diabetes," says Professor Monika Kellerer, MD, President of the DDG and Medical Director of the Clinic for Internal Medicine I at the Marienhospital in Stuttgart. But important demands on the part of medicine have so far gone unheard by politicians.
Recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to significantly reduce the amount of sugar in processed foods, to tax highly sugary drinks more heavily and to ban advertising of unhealthy products aimed at children have still not been implemented in Germany. "As has been shown in other countries, these measures are particularly effective because they reach all people in their everyday lives," says Kellerer. In Germany, on the other hand, the focus has been on voluntary sugar reduction by manufacturers - a plan that has obviously not worked. Products for children are still often the ones with the highest sugar content.
The DDG demands that the measures of the National Diabetes Strategy (NDS), which the Bundestag passed last summer, now be implemented quickly, because an important component of the NDS is also targeted measures for the prevention and treatment of obesity. "We very much welcome the draft law on the further development of health care, which provides for the establishment of a structured treatment programme - a disease management programme (DMP) for obesity," says Kellerer. This would give people with obesity access to continuous, structured and quality-assured treatment - if possible before diabetes manifests itself. Evidence-based guidelines for treatment have already been presented by the DDG and the German Obesity Society (Deutsche Adipositas Gesellschaft, DAG), and the corresponding care structures are also already in place. "Within the framework of the DMP for type 2 diabetes, good interdisciplinary structures and treatment teams have been established in recent years," says Kellerer. Due to the close interlocking of the two disease patterns, these could also be optimally used for an obesity DMP.