Socially disadvantaged students suffer especially during the Corona period. The affected girls and boys experience far more than all comparison groups the negative changes in their quality of life caused by the pandemic. This applies to both life satisfaction, health and mental well-being. In particular, more and more children and adolescents complain of frequent headaches, abdominal or back pain – especially in families with low social status. This is shown by the current prevention radar from DAK-Gesundheit for the school year 2021/2022. For the school survey, which is unique in Germany, IFT-Nord in Kiel has surveyed about 18,000 boys and girls in grades 5 to 10 in a total of 13 federal states on behalf of the health insurance company and compared the results with previous years. As a consequence, DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm calls for a joint effort from health and family policy to strengthen the health of children and young people in Germany. For the professional association of paediatricians, social inequality is increasing.
“The current CAD prevention radar shows that the health and joy of life for many children and young people from socially disadvantaged families has become particularly bad during the pandemic,” says CAC CEO Andreas Storm. “The results of several studies and studies show a great deal of pressure to act. We must prevent the pandemic from creating a lost generation with health problems and mental illness. I call for a short-term coordinated effort from health and family policy in the federal and state and for to strengthen youth health. ”
Since 2016, DAK-Gesundheit’s prevention radar has examined the physical and mental well-being and health behavior in grades 5 to 10. About 18,000 girls and boys from 1,100 classes in 13 federal states participated in the sixth wave of research by IFT-Nord in Kiel. According to this, 29 percent of all school children report poorer health due to the pandemic. For socially disadvantaged children and young people, it is significantly more with 38 percent. Compared to the pre-corona period, the proportion of all boys and girls who have headaches, abdominal or back pain at least once a week has increased by about a third. In socially disadvantaged families, the increase is almost half. A total of 24 percent of all respondents currently suffer from pain on a regular basis. Among the vulnerable, it is 38 per cent. A comparable picture emerges in terms of exhaustion and fatigue: Among the socially disadvantaged children, 70 percent often feel tired and exhausted – a total of 57 percent.
Dr. Thomas Fischbach, President of the Professional Association of Pediatricians, confirms the survey results from DAK-Gesundheit. “In our practice, we see that in addition to organ-related diseases such as obesity, there are also psychosomatic disorders such as frequent stomach and headaches. And there are more general mental problems such as lack of motivation and exhaustion for depressive disorders. Overall, the socially disadvantaged children prepare us for The biggest concerns. The pandemic acts as a further intensifier of social inequalities, and federal politicians have so far been passive in their views. ”
According to DAK’s prevention radar, the pandemic had an impact on the joy of life for more than half of children and young people. Overall, perceived satisfaction with life has “significantly deteriorated” for 7.7 percent of respondents. There are comparable results for future prospects. In addition, every second school child in the school year 2021/2022 had reduced mental well-being. In the group of the socially disadvantaged, it was 67 percent; most affected here: the average 15-year-old girls in grades 5 to 10 with a share of 86 percent.
The statements of many girls and boys on the subject of loneliness are also striking: The vast majority of all respondents (about 84 percent) experienced loneliness during the Corona school years. Of these, about 39 percent state that they have felt lonely even more often because of the pandemic. Respondents with this condition are also more likely than other children to say that friendships have suffered as a result of the pandemic.
“The current CAD prevention radar makes it clear in different areas that the pandemic had very different effects and consequences depending on the social status of school children. Children and young people with a higher social status probably have more resources needed to cope with the extraordinary situation, and ultimately survive them well, “explains Professor Reiner Hanewinkel, Head of Studies at IFT-Nord in Kiel. The Department of Therapy and Health Research conducts annual surveys for the prevention radar and evaluates the results for DAK-Gesundheit. “Children and adolescents experience a significant level of mental stress and loss of quality of life during the pandemic. Families with low social status have fewer resources to cope and need support services.”
With 5.5 million insured, DAK-Gesundheit is the third largest health insurance company in Germany and is particularly committed to the health of children and young people.
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Original content from: DAK-Gesundheit, broadcast by news aktuell