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Health: Germans live that well or badly


Sport good, nutrition in need of improvement: Germans live so healthy
Most people know that it is part of a healthy lifestyle to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and avoid tobacco and alcohol as much as possible. But what about the health behavior of Germans? Experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) have the answers.

Health behavior in Europe compared
Improper diet, lack of exercise, obesity (obesity), smoking and high alcohol consumption - all of these factors are partly responsible for non-communicable, chronic diseases. But how healthy are people? Do you eat balanced? Do you do sports? As the Federal Government reports in a communication, scientists from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) have compared health behavior in Europe. The experts refer to data from the European Health Interview Survey (EHIS).

Change lifestyle and thereby prevent diseases
Healthy eating, adequate exercise, smoke-free living: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases, strokes and type 2 diabetes and 40 percent of cancer can be avoided.

Those who do not smoke, are physically active, eat enough fruit and vegetables and drink only moderate alcohol not only improve their prospects of living longer, but also live better as an older person.

Weight loss also contributes to a healthier life. Being overweight is a strong risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

More and more overweight people
But more and more people worldwide are suffering from obesity and obesity - also in this country: According to current figures from the OECD, more and more overweight people live in Germany.

As stated in the federal government's announcement, 54 percent of adults weigh too much. Men are overweight with 43.3 percent more often than women with 28.8 percent. In addition, 18.1 percent are obese, both among women and men.

If you differentiate by age, you can see that the weight increases, especially among the younger ones. In 2014/2015, 9.7 percent of women and 8.9 percent of men in the age group 18 to 29 were obese. In 2010 it was 5.5 percent of women and 5.4 percent of men.

Women and men up to 44 years of age are more often overweight or obese in an EU comparison. There are practically no differences between Germany and the EU value among the elderly.

Fruits and vegetables for a balanced diet
Health experts recommend eating five to ten servings of fruit and vegetables a day, but research in the past year has shown that German fruit and vegetable consumption is stagnating or far too low.

It looks better in other European countries. While 61.5 percent of women and 49.4 percent of men eat fruit at least daily on average in the EU, the figure for women in Germany is 55.6 percent and just 38.7 percent for men. Germany is in the lower third.

Vegetables are also rarely on the menu. The Germans are behind in Europe: the men in last place, the women in fourth place.

On average in the EU, 55.7 percent of women and 44 percent of men eat vegetables at least once a day. In Germany it is 42.5 percent of women and only 25.3 percent of men.

Smoking and alcohol increase the risk of illness
Scientific studies have shown that over 300 Germans die prematurely every day from the effects of smoking. However, many people don't keep their hands off cigarettes.

Across Europe, 19.5 percent of women and 28.7 percent of men smoke. In Germany it is slightly less: 18.8 percent of women and 24.8 percent of men. The proportion of smokers in Germany and across Europe is increasing among 25- to 34-year-olds. As we get older, the number decreases.

In all age groups, German men smoke significantly less than the EU average. There is one exception for smokers: 15- to 24-year-olds smoke more often than other Europeans of their age.

While the Germans are close to the EU average when it comes to smoking, they are significantly better than alcohol. In Germany, people drink an above-average amount of alcohol.

Binge drinking above the EU average is common in all age groups. Men drink in the upper third of the EU, women in second place behind Denmark. Drinking until intoxication means: Every month, at least six or more alcoholic beverages are consumed on one occasion.

Exercise for a healthy life
The WHO recommends that adults exercise physically for at least 150 minutes a week, for example when cycling, jogging, playing football or swimming - at least ten minutes at a time. It is important that an increased breathing and heart rate is generated.

On average, 26.2 percent of women and 35.7 percent of men in the EU achieve the WHO recommendation. In Germany it is 45.5 percent of women and 51.2 percent of men. In a European comparison, Germany is in the top third.

Those who are younger do more sports. Sports activities decline in middle age. The older ones, on the other hand, are doing more sport in Germany - contrary to the EU trend.

Overall, the Germans do disproportionately well when comparing sporting activities. (ad)

Author and source information


Video: Out of time: Elderly care in Germany. DW English (October 2021).