Over 100 patients already benefit from the "Leipzig Adiposity-Management"

There are only insufficient treatment options for severe overweight in Germany. Considering this situation, it is a milestone, that the University Hospital Leipzig and the AOK Plus Saxony and Thuringia supported by the IFB were able to draft a contract allowing a comprehensive obesity therapy.

The "Leipzig Adiposity-Management" offers a comprehensive obesity treatment. (Photo: IFB Adiposity)

Although obesity has a lot of secondary diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, it is not accepted as an independent disease and thus health insurances cover the costs of treatments only reluctantly. The new agreement of the AOK Plus health insurance and the University Hospital Leipzig allows for the first time in Germany a comprehensive, multi-year therapy for obese children, adolescents, and adults, who are clients of this insurance. Since August 2014 they can start a broad therapy program at the Adiposity Outpatient Clinic of the University Hospital Leipzig. Till October 2014 already more than 100 AOK Plus insured patients, who suffer from obesity, have entered the therapy program.

The program was developed in detail by the contracting partners and has been lined out in a specific contract for the integrated care of obese people. The expertise in treating obesity of the IFB Outpatient Clinic was important in drafting the contract. The “Leipzig Adiposity-Management” is mostly about the interdisciplinary and structured treatment and care of severely overweight people by the hospital, specialized and general physicians. How many patients will benefit from this program remains to be seen. Generally, about 400 new patients, thereof about 200 children and adolescents, come to the IFB AdiposityDiseases Leipzig per year.

The novelty of the Leipzig Adiposity-Management is the variety of therapy modules within an interdisciplinary treatment. They range from nutritional and exercise therapy, psychological counselling, to outpatient-care. The modules are interconnected. The patients can choose to participate in therapy groups of established obesity programs like M.O.B.I.L.I.S.® or DOC WEIGHT®. In special patient cases a surgical intervention with an individual long-term aftercare can be part of the obesity program.

Sarah Victoria Schwalm, SOP manager at the IFB, sees distinct improvements for AOK Plus patients: “The benefit of this program in contrast to the previous treatment is that the patients benefit from various therapy modules and that they are treated over a couple of years. That helps not only in losing weight by changing one’s lifestyle, but also in the subsequent stabilizing of the lower weight. A lot of our patients had successful phases of losing weight, but over time they have regained it, the so-called yoyo-effect.” Beyond the long term care Sarah Schwalm sees benefits in the more individualized treatment: “We can be more mindful of the individual necessities. Patients can for example get stress management trainings or psychological counselling if needed.  The long-term and individually adapted treatment helps the patients to integrate the things learned into their lives permanently. Maintaining a reduced weight in the long run is only possible if the lifestyle changes are accepted and integrated into the daily life”, explains the IFB employee.

According to scientific findings on effective obesity therapies, the program stresses systematic nutritional consultations, documented exercise and  behavioral therapy, the patients' compliance with lifestyle changes and a lifelong aftercare in the case of a surgical intervention. Also joining a self-help groups is advisable. The thorough evaluation within the treatment pathways makes it possible to intervene if required and change the individual program according to pateint's needs.

The aim of this innovative and improved treatment option is toimprove the health status and the quality of life, avoid interruptions of the treatment and to reduce hospital stays and phases of work disablities. The Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases accompanies and evaluates the Leipzig Adiposity-Management scientifically.

Contact and Information:
Information on the Leipzig Adiposity-Management can be obtained via phone +49 (0) 341 97-12418 or via e-mail: ambulanz [at] ifb-adipositas [dot] de. Information on the program for children and adolescents provides Dr. Melanie Adler, phone: +49 (0)341 97-26242.

Keywords: obesity treatment, nutrition & diet, health policy

Doris Gabel