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Open Access Research article

Case management via telephone counseling and SMS for weight maintenance in adolescent obesity: study concept of the TeAM program

Jana Markert1*, Sabine Herget1, Stefanie Marschke1, Thomas Lehnert12, Christian Falkenberg3 and Susann Blüher1

Author Affiliations

1 Leipzig University Medical Center, IFB Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Philipp-Rosenthal-Str. 27, Leipzig D-04103, Germany

2 Department for Medical Sociology and Health Economics, Hamburg Center for Health Economics (HCHE), University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, Hamburg D-20246, Germany

3 German statutory pension insurance, Department North, Medical Rehabilitation Hospital “Satteldüne”, Tanenwai 32, Nebel/Amrum D-25946, Germany

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BMC Obesity 2014, 1:8  doi:10.1186/2052-9538-1-8

Published: 29 May 2014



In-patient obesity treatment programs for adolescents are associated with good success and substantial weight loss. However, maintaining weight loss remains a challenge. This article presents the concept of the TeAM (Telephone counseling as Adiposity Management) program. TeAM is an innovative, weight maintenance program for obese adolescents after in-patient therapy. It applies the case management approach in combination with new media (telephone counseling, web forum, and SMS messaging). Adolescents (14–18 years) were recruited via German rehabilitation hospitals. The intervention of the TeAM program consists of telephone counseling through trained case managers in order to maintain body weight reduction (expressed as BMI-SDS: body mass index standard deviation score) achieved during an in-patient obesity therapy. At baseline and after completion of the program, participants provide anthropometric measures (obtained by trained medical staff) as well as information on socio-demographics, usage of health services, psychosocial status, daily physical activity, media consumption, and eating behavior. The core of the intervention is regular telephone contact with the adolescent participants combined with tailored SMS messages. Telephone counseling is based on the systemic approach and addresses the topics of mental hygiene, physical activity, sedentary behavior, diet and eating behavior.


Baseline data of the feasibility study: Thirty-eight adolescents were recruited for the feasibility study (14 male, 24 female; mean age 15.82 years); out of them, ten participants lived with a single parent; 68% planned to graduate from school without pre-requisites for university admission (O-level). The mean weight loss during in-patient treatment was 0.32 BMI-SDS units. Mean BMI at the start of intervention was 31.93 kg/m2, corresponding to a mean BMI-SDS of 2.48.


Weight maintenance treatment programs for adolescent obesity utilizing new media are a promising approach as they reach adolescents directly within their everyday life.

Trial registration


Obesity; Adolescence; Weight maintenance; Telephone counseling; Tailored short messages; Systemic counseling; Case management; TeAM program; Rehabilitation research