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Competence Network on Obesity

In the last decades overweight and obesity became a worldwide problem. Germany is also highly affected by this “global epidemic”, as about 16 m people are suffering from obesity.

Meanwhile less than half of the German adults show a normal and healthy bodyweight. More than 20% are obese, showing a Body Mass Index ≥ 30 kg/m2 and another 40% are overweight (BMI ≥ 25 < 30 kg/m2)  . Herewith closely related is the high risk to develop a multitude of co-morbidities such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and some cancer types.

It is alarming that even amongst children and adolescents overweight occurs more often. The results of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS), undertaken between 2003 and 2006, showed that 15% of all children and adolescents between 3 and 17 years have overweight, 6,3% are obese.(1)
Obesity is considered as a chronic disease, restraining quality of life as well as leading to multiple health problems and shortening the life expectancy. This means allocated costs of at least 13 bn € per annum for the German health care system.(2)

To support obesity research the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) founded the Competence Network for Obesity Research and started its funding since July 2008.

Eight thematically structured consortia comprising thirty-nin sub-projects are working on the general aims as follows:

  • Networking of German experts in the field of obesity.
  • Establishment of a nationally and internationally visible and competitive research platform.
  • Rapid transfer of new scientific results in prevention medicine and in patient care.
  • Expert platform for all questions concerning obesity.

(1) Kurth BM, Schaffrath Rosario A. Die Verbreitung von Uebergewicht und Adipositas bei Kindern und Jugendlichen in Deutschland; Ergebnisse des bundesweiten Kinder- und Jugendgesundheitssurveys (KiGGS). Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2007 May-Jun; 50(5-6):736-43
(2) Knoll K.P., Hauner H. Kosten der Adipositas in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Adipositas 2008; 2:204 – 210.

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