Developing an intervention concept for overweight and obesity in adolescents in Lower Austria
Overweight and obesity are serious health problems of the 21st century and are associated with numerous risks for secondary and concomitant diseases. In children and adolescents excessive body weight can lead to severe stress with significant consequences for mental and physical development. Studies show that in many areas the nutritional and exercise behaviour of Lower Austrian children and adolescents is more disadvantageous than the Austrian average. In addition, a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity is observed in Lower Austria than in Austria as a whole.
Cost savings through effective early intervention
Even a small decrease in overweight and obesity can reduce costs in health care. Experience with health promotion or prevention services in Germany has shown that savings in health care costs exceed the programme costs many times over.
Early, comprehensive and long-term intervention
A recent evidence report shows that lifestyle-based interventions are most effective when they are designed as long-term therapy programmes, start at an early age and combine components such as nutrition, physical activity and psychological training. Adolescence is considered to be the last “window of opportunity” to treat overweight and obesity before its manifestation in adulthood. On behalf of the Austrian Health Fund for Lower Austria (Österreichische Gesundheitskasse Niederösterreich), researchers from the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten analyse – based on comprehensive research on evidence-based interventions – which therapy settings have proven to be most beneficial and effective for the treatment of overweight and obesity in adolescents. The result is an intervention concept tailored specifically to the needs in Lower Austria.
- Niederösterreichischen Gebietskrankenkasse (NÖGKK)