Germans do more sport and feel fit

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Robert Koch Institute: The Germans are fat, feel healthy and do more sports

People in Germany apparently do more sports, suffer more from the chronic metabolic disease diabetes and are more often exposed to permanent stress. This is the result of a health study commissioned by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin. The authors of the study conclude that the Germans mostly feel healthy and fit, but lower income groups and Hartz IV recipients have a significantly higher risk of illness than others.

A lot more people in Germany regularly exercise. Nevertheless, a large-scale study by the RKI on adult health counts more diabetics. That is the summarized result of a study presented today.

The scientific evaluation is one of the largest studies in Germany in the field of health. A total of around 8000 people took part in the RKI study, which was carried out between 2008 and 2011. Subjects were questioned using questionnaires, physically examined in detail by a doctor and various laboratory examinations were carried out. In addition to the physical and psychological constitution, the main questions were also health behavior and social status.

More people suffering from diabetes The number of diabetics has continued to increase since the last survey in 1998. According to the study, around 7.2 percent of adult Germans between the ages of 18 and 79 have diabetes. The proportion of diabetics has increased by 38 percent over the past ten years. However, around 33 percent of the increase is due to the higher number of older people. Due to the demographic change, the proportion of chronic diseases is also increasing, as the risk of diabetes increases with increasing age.

Another risk for diabetes is the unhealthy diet and the resulting excess weight. According to the study, the number of obese adults is "at a high level". About 53 percent of women and a good 67 percent of men are overweight. The proportion of people suffering from obesity has increased significantly. About 25 percent of adult women and men are very overweight.

Young men in particular have put on a lot of weight. "This age group is more affected by overweight than ten years ago," says the study. What is meant is the age group of 30 to 39 year olds. One in five (22 percent) suffers from obesity. Obesity is not only a risk for diabetes but also for cardiovascular diseases and some types of cancer.

One in ten suffers from permanent stress 2.5 percent of women and seven percent of men in the 40 to 79 age group have had a heart attack and survived this. Depression was diagnosed in a good six percent of the subjects in the past 12 months. Every tenth German also suffers from permanent stress. This permanent condition can in turn cause depression, chronic fatigue, burn-out and sleep disorders.

But the trend towards sport is positive. The result showed that more and more people regularly exercise. Around 25 percent exercise at least two hours a week. In the study ten years earlier, the proportion was significantly lower.

Overall, however, people in Germany feel healthy. A good 76.6 percent of men and about 72.9 percent of women say that their "health is good to very good". Even in old age, 50 percent of the 70-year-olds said that they would rate their health at least “good”.

Poverty favors diseases The situation is different for people who have a low household income and who receive Hartz IV benefits, for example. These people are affected by diseases such as diabetes far more frequently and also rate their general health much worse. In addition, poor people are more often affected by mental illnesses such as depression or physical complaints such as being overweight. "The results clearly show that the health opportunities and disease risks are still very unevenly distributed," summarize the authors of the study.

More psychological and physical violence One in five respondents between the ages of 18 and 64 stated that they had been at least once subjected to a psychological attack in the past twelve months. Every man and tenth woman said they had ever committed psychological violence themselves. Every 20 adults in Germany have already been victims of physical violence.

Psychological violence in the workplace is neglected in its negative meaning. Nine percent of both genders have already been victims in the workplace. Because women are still less active than men, the result shows that women are affected more often in the workplace. This permanent psychological strain can result in serious illnesses such as depression or anxiety disorders. This is also an economic problem, warns RKI researcher Robert Schlack. Because those affected perform significantly less if they are bullied. Therefore, employers should be more interested in developing prevention strategies.

The researchers are not surprised that men are more likely to perpetrate physical attacks. However, men are also more often victims of violence. However, age also plays a role in the experience of violence. The older the age of the test subjects, the less often men became victims. (sb)

Image: Paulwip /

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