Young people in Germany exercise too little

Young people in Germany exercise too little

If children spend too many hours with digital media, they have less time for sport and exercise.

© Jens Kalaene / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa-tmn
If children spend too many hours with digital media, they have less time for sport and exercise.

What is the situation with children and youth sports in Germany? The children’s and youth sports report from the Krupp Foundation provides an answer every few years. According to the new report, most of them lack exercise in everyday life.Children and young people in Germany move less and less in everyday life. This is the conclusion reached by the authors of the Fourth German Children’s and Youth Sports Report, which has now been presented.

“80 percent of young people exercise less than recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), girls are particularly affected,” said the sports scientist and head of the editorial team Report, Christoph Breuer from the Sport University Cologne.

Lack of exercise leads to obesity

As a result, the experts name above all overweight. This affects the health of children and adolescents and can also lead to a lower life expectancy.

According to the Federal Center for Health Education, the WHO recommends adolescents aged 5 to 17 years of age at least 60 minutes of moderate to intensive physical activity per day.

The growing range of digital media and games is problematic in this context, it said. The first findings on sitting behavior when consuming media and the resulting low energy consumption are “alarming”.

The influence of digitization on the sporting activity of children and young people has not yet been sufficiently researched.

Demand for more sports in daycare centers and schools

The Essen sports educator Werner Schmidt sees a further cause in the longer care times, which have led to a “battle of the afternoon offers for the adolescents’ increasingly scarce free time”.

Picture gallery: 15 tips for more exercise in everyday life

Movement in everyday life must be encouraged more strongly again, said the authors. This could be done, for example, by designing living spaces that are easy to move and close to home, for example by expanding safe cycle paths and green spaces that encourage active movement.

However, it is even more important to strengthen the importance of exercise, play and sport in the school context. In this context, the authors advocate more sports lessons, longer breaks in exercise, sports club offers in the afternoon, more qualified staff and compulsory swimming lessons.

Sports clubs play an important role

Despite these developments, sport continues to be the number one extracurricular leisure activity for children and adolescents, it said.

“In this phase of life, sport is mainly practiced in a club, which can go hand in hand with social recognition and a strengthening of self-esteem and self-efficacy.”

However, access to active sports and membership in sports clubs is increasingly dependent on the family’s social background.

Studies have shown that children from socially disadvantaged families are less active, have more health problems and are less often club members, both in sport and in the field of culture.

Stephan Mayer (CSU), Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, which is also responsible for sport, emphasized the importance of sport for the integration of migrants.

“If at the end of the day a Syrian and an Iranian prune each other in German on the soccer field, from my point of view that is, in the best sense of the word, successful integration through sport,” he said.

The President of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), Alfons Hörmann, emphasized the social importance of sports clubs: “Working with children and young people in sports clubs is a way of conveying values.”

There the children learned to recognize rules, team play, how to deal with victory and defeat, fairness and social interaction.

The series of studies is financed by the Krupp Foundation. The first children’s and youth sports report was published in 2003. The reports are intended to reflect the current state of knowledge on the sporting development of children and young people in Germany.


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