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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Germany

Germany

7. Health and Well-Being

7.4 Healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition

On this page
  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people
  3. Health education and healthy lifestyles education in schools
  4. Peer-to-peer education approaches
  5. Collaboration and partnerships
  6. Raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and on factors affecting the health and well-being of young people

National strategy(ies)

Healthy nutrition The national strategy to improve the eating habits of children and young people is the National Action Plan IN FORM (Nationaler Aktionsplan IN FORM), described under Sport, youth fitness and physical activity > National strategy(ies).

Prevention of overweightness The prevention of overweight in children and young people is a key funding priority in the policy work of the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG). BMG has three aims:

  • identify success factors to ensure the long-term effectiveness of measures
  • improve project quality and effectiveness
  • develop needs-based and target group-oriented information and education materials

Since 2015, BMG has backed various programmes to meet these targets. See alsoEncouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people > b) Encouraging healthy lifestyles

Healthy sexuality In accordance with the Act on Assistance to Avoid and Cope with Conflicts in Pregnancy (Schwangerschaftskonfliktgesetz, SchKG), the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufkärung, BZgA), together with the federal states (Bundesländer) and representatives of all types of family advice clinics, has developed concepts and designs and communicated uniform national measures on sexual education and family planning. This legal mandate is specified in more detail in a framework concept on sexual education agreed with the federal states. BZgA has created several related Internet services. See alsoEncouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people > a) Encouraging general and sexual health for young people.

Addiction prevention Addiction prevention is one of four levels in the federal government's National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy (Nationale Strategie zur Drogen- und Suchtpolitik). The strategy was adopted in February 2012. Its main goals are to reduce the consumption of legal and illegal addictive substances and to prevent drug and addiction-related problems. The Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government (Drogenbeauftragte der Bundesregierung), part of the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit), coordinates drug and addiction policy. Addiction prevention measures are aimed at the entire population, but some activities and campaigns target children and young people specifically. For specific projects and Internet services see also Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people > c) Preventing risky behaviour (drugs, alcohol, tobacco etc.).

Action Programme on Environment and Health (Aktionsprogramm Umwelt und Gesundheit, APUG) Several federal ministries [Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit); Health; Food and Agriculture and top-level federal agencies [Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz); Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung); Robert Koch Institute; German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt)] cooperate as part of the Action Programme on Environment and Health (Aktionsprogramm Umwelt und Gesundheit, APUG) to support healthy living environments. The programme funds research projects and information campaigns relating to environmental, health and consumer protection. Children and young people are its key target group. The programme funds research projects and information campaigns relating to environmental, health and consumer protection. Children and young people are its key target group. It aims to protect children and young people against damaging environmental factors and enable research into the effects of hazardous substances on children. For example, it supports activities designed to create child-friendly residential areas and healthy environmental and living conditions. It encourages the active involvement of the public – in particular children and young people – in shaping their living environment.

Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people

The National Action Plan IN FORM – German national initiative to promote healthy diets and physical activity (Nationaler Aktionsplan IN FORM – Deutschlands Initiative für gesunde Ernährung und mehr Bewegung) aims to bring about long-term improvements in eating habits and physical activity in Germany by 2020. See 7.3 Sport, youth fitness and physical activity.

The federal government also funds special projects and initiatives in specific areas:

1. Encouraging general and sexual health among young people

Internet services to encourage sexual health by the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA):

  • loveline.de: Youth homepage on love, partnerships, sexuality and contraception. An interactive learning tool for young people with chats, dictionary of terms, trivia games, FAQs, polls, news and monthly focus topics.
  • familienplanung.de: An online service with information on contraception, family planning, pregnancy and early parenthood. Basic, background and current information is available via a range of channels. Lots of information on selected topics, including accounts of personal experiences, interviews with experts and statistical data. Individuals in need of advice can use the large database of information on pregnancy advice centres across Germany to find their nearest centre quickly and easily.
  • Schwanger-unter-20.de: This online service provides a lot of information and guidance for pregnant minors, young women and their partners. Includes information on financial assistance and key points of contact along with answers to frequently asked questions. Young people are encouraged to accept help and, as parents-to-be, have their own say in personal accounts of their experiences.
  • komm-auf-tour.de: The project 'Come on tour – my strengths, my future' (Komm auf Tour - meine Stärken, meine Zukunft) aims to help pupils in years 7 and 8 at secondary schools, comprehensives and similar schools to discover their strengths and interests at an early stage. Young people are given guidance and help with making decisions on upcoming practical training and can find out about possible career prospects. Personal topics such as friendship, sexuality and contraception are integrated age-appropriately. A project description, tour data for ongoing state projects, project resources and results of the ongoing evaluation are available on the website

2. Encouraging health lifestyles

Campaign: STAY HEALTHY move, relax, eat! (GUT DRAUF bewegen, entspannen, essen – aber wie!) The aim of the federal (national) campaign STAY HEALTHY move, relax, eat! of the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA) is to bring about long-term improvements in the health of young people aged 12 to 18 years old. It is based on an integrated, well-founded concept for nutrition, physical activity and stress regulation. The website also includes plenty of resources on health and nutrition for young people.

Encouraging healthy nutrition Programmes and projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Health to prevent overweightness among children and young people:

Projects to support healthy nutrition as part of IN FORM

  • IN FORM project: Healthy start to life – network for young families (Gesund ins Leben – Netzwerk Junge Familie) The Healthy start to life – network for young families project helps young families in their efforts to raise healthy children. It aims to pass on knowledge and skills to young families relating to balanced nutrition and allergy prevention and to motivate them to lead a healthy lifestyle.
  • School + food = A* (Schule + Essen = Note 1) School + food = A* is also part of the IN FORM Action Plan. The project aims to improve school meals and keep them at the best possible level. The German Nutrition Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung, DGE) helps those responsible for school meals to provide a wholesome range of food. It does this on the basis of the DGE Quality Standard for School Meals (DGE-Qualitätsstandard für die Schulverpflegung).
  • Network organisation for school meals (Vernetzungsstellen Schulverpflegung, VNS) The network organisation for school meals helps schools across Germany as well as child day care centres in some federal states to develop and improve the quality of school meals and ensure a balanced selection. The organisation is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states (Bundesländer). It aims to bring about a long-term improvement in school meals in the federal states.

Further programmes

  • Joschi can do it (Joschi hat's drauf) – a programme of action by the citizens advice bureaux in the federal states (Bundesländer) The three to six-month campaign aims to pass on nutritional expertise to educators. It also provides stimulus and ideas for implementing nutrition campaigns of all sizes. Mascot Joschi helps children to experience food and drink using all of their senses. Example from Rhineland-Palatinate: Joshi hat's drauf Aktionsprogramm für KitasFinal evaluation report on the campaign of the consumer advice centre (Verbraucherzentrale) of Rhineland-Palatinate, published by Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in December 2011
  • Feel Fit|Youth Hostels (Fit Drauf – Jugendherbergen) Unter the motto "Aktiv und fit | Jugendherbergen", the German Youth Hostel Association (Deutsche Jugendherbergsverband, DJH) offers youth-friendly programmes to promote health as part of its Feel Fit|Youth Hostels (Fit Drauf - Jugendherbergen) campaign. The campaign slogan is 'Experience the good – feel fit for life'. It refers to a modern approach to health that includes healthy eating, stress regulation and exercise as well as the teaching of social and life skills to promote socio-ecological orientation or 'education on sustainable development'. The concept links activities relating to healthy eating, physical activity, relaxation and social learning in a health-promoting environment. Activities range from food festivals, cooking courses, picnics, sporting events, popular sports, fun olympics, beauty salons, body talk sessions and dream holidays, to cooperation games, educational experiences, job application training, media workshops and dealing with stress, drugs and conflict. These experience-based personal development programmes encourage positive attitudes to health in a child and youth-friendly way. Participation and self-determination by young people is vital to triggering big enough changes in attitudes and integrating behaviour into daily life.

3. Preventing risky behaviour (drugs, alcohol, tobacco etc.)

Make children strong (Kinder stark machen) – participatory campaign for early addiction prevention The Make children strong campaign (Kinder stark machen) of the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA) aims to give children aged four and over, young people and adult contact persons the bio-psychosocial skills they need to lead an addiction-free life. The campaign mainly works in the leisure and sports field and with parents. It is run in close cooperation with the big leisure sport associations and organisations involved in child and youth services (Kinder- und Jugendhilfe) and addiction prevention.

National competition for addiction prevention in the community (Kommunale Suchtprävention) The theme of the seventh national competition (Kommunale Suchtprävention) was 'innovative addiction prevention – locally' (Innovative Suchtprävention vor Ort) It was launched on 22 September 2015. The closing date was 15 January 2016, by which time 68 towns, cities, local communities and districts had submitted their contributions. The competition was funded by the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA) and the Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government (Drogenbeauftragte der Bundesregierung) and held with the support of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (Spitzenverband der gesetzlichen Kranken- und Pflegekassen) and local umbrella associations. The prize money totalled 60000 euros.

Health education and healthy lifestyles education in schools

In its Recommendation on health promotion and prevention in schools (Empfehlung zur Gesundheitsförderung und Prävention in der Schule) dated 15 November 2012, the federal states (Bundesländer) made their most recent joint statement at the level of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz). The recommendation sets out the following basic objectives: "Health promotion and prevention are integral parts of school development. Far from being additional responsibilities for schools, they are at the core of all school development processes." The individual federal states are responsible for implementing the recommendation.

Health promotion and prevention – example from the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate The Network to promote health in schools (Netzwerk Schulen für Gesundheit) helps schools to implement health promotion and prevention steps and networks them regionally. Schools are encouraged to develop health-enhancing structures and ensure the long-term integration of health promotion in their profiles.

The basis for sex education in schools in the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate is Section 1 of the Rhineland-Palatinate state education act (Schulgesetz). Section 1(3) says: "The mandate of schools includes sex education. It comprises an integral element of general education and is implemented on an interdisciplinary basis to teach responsible sexual behaviour. Pupils are to be familiarised with the topic of sexuality and taught human, social and equal partnership skills in an age-appropriate way with the necessary discretion. Sex education must comply with the value judgements with respect to marriage and family enshrined in the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz) and the constitution of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate and take into account the requirement for tolerance. The school shall inform parents in good time about the aims, content and form of sex education."

Addiction prevention is an educational mandate for schools, covered by Section 1(2) of the education act (Schulgesetz) (Gesundheitsförderung Suchtprävention). There is also a general school dental hygiene programme (Gesamtprogramm der Schulzahnpflege).

School regulations cover medical care in schools and protection against infectious diseases, steps to take when the health of other pupils is at risk, smoke and alcohol-free schools and commercial activity/the sale of items.

Lesson resources for teachers The Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BzgA) has a range of lesson resources for teachers (Materialien zur Unterrichtsunterstützung für Lehrer/-innen) in the following areas:

  • chronic diseases
  • nutrition and exercise
  • vaccinations and personal immunisation
  • communication and social skills
  • noise prevention
  • help with the learning process
  • media skills
  • organ donation
  • sex education
  • addiction prevention

And in the area of sex education at upper and lower secondary (Sekundarstufe I/II): on sexually transmitted diseases (Sexualerziehung zu sexuell übertragbaren Krankheiten).

Peer-to-peer education approaches

The central element of the peer-to-peer approach is the prevention campaign Alcohol? Know your limits (Alkohol? Kenn dein Limit) by the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BzgA). Every year, 50 peer educators aged between 18 and 24 tour around Germany. They approach young people to talk about alcohol and educate them about potential risks. Their focus is on young people aged between about 14 and 24.

Collaboration and partnerships

The Act to strengthen health promotion and prevention (Präventionsgesetz), which came into effect on 25 July 2015, strengthens the basis for greater collaboration between social security agencies, federal states (Bundesländer) and local communities in the area of prevention and health promotion. Statutory health insurers, statutory pension insurance providers, statutory accident insurers, social care insurance agencies and private health insurers are all involved. At a national prevention conference, the social security agencies set joint goals together with the federal government, the federal states, local communities, the Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit) and social partners and agree a uniform approach.

Examples of partnerships between health insurers and child day care centres or schools

The health insurance provider AOK in Berlin has a state-wide programme in place to promote healthy schools (Landesprogramm für die gesunde Schule). Programme partners are the Berlin Senate Department for Education, Youth and Science (Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Jugend und Wissenschaft Berlin), the Ministries of Education in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the statutory health insurance providers and health insurance associations, as well as other partners from social services and the health care sector.

Health insurance provider Barmer Krankenkasse has a media service for schools (Medienservice für Schulen) and actively helps teachers to create lesson plans on exercise, health, stress avoidance and nutrition.

Accident insurance provider Unfallkasse Nordrhein-Westfalen in North Rhine-Westphalia awards a school development prize called 'Good, healthy school' (Gute gesunde Schule).

A project exists in Lower Saxony called School network for healthy life and learning (Netzwerk Schulen Gesund Leben Lernen, GLL). It is a cooperation project between the state statutory health insurance provider associations and the Association for Health Promotion and Academy for Social Medicine in Lower Saxony (Landesvereinigung für Gesundheit und Akademie für Sozialmedizin Niedersachsen e.V.). The project aims to develop the school organisation into a healthy place to grow up and work for teachers and pupils alike.

From 2014 to 2016, accident insurance provider Unfallkasse Sachsen-Anhalt in Saxony-Anhalt supported the implementation of occupational health management in child day care and schools with a special focus on mental health in cooperation with the Association for Health in Saxony-Anhalt (Landesvereinigung für Gesundheit Sachsen-Anhalt e.V. - Projekte). Stakeholders in child day care and schools were offered help to develop and strengthen health skills. The project aimed to establish holistic occupational health management in child day care and schools, with the focus of the backing on mental health.

Raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and on factors affecting the health and well-being of young people

For bodies and organisations that provide information on healthy lifestyles, see Administration and Governance > Governance > Main actors.

Some federal states (Bundesländer) still have their own youth information services (Jugendinformationen).

Information portals of the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA) on addiction prevention:

  • rauch-frei.info – Internet service with information for young people on the effects, risks and damage to health caused by smoking. The non-smoking page for young people is mainly made up of the elements: information, communication (smoke-free community) and a personal programme to quit smoking.
  • spielen-mit-verantwortung.de – Portal with information on and help with gambling addiction. Includes information on the potential dangers of different games, how gambling addiction arises and its impact on those affected and their loved ones. There is also a self-test function to test personal gambling behaviour, an online help programme for people trying to quit and information on local advisory centres.
  • kenn-dein-limit.info – Portal for young people. Includes information about risks and dangers to health of heavy and risky alcohol consumption.
  • drugcom.de – A low-threshold internet project in the recreational sector aimed at young people taking or likely to take drugs. It aims to promote communication with young people with experience of drugs. Internet-based, anonymous information and counselling services help to motivate young drug users to critically reflect on and modify their consumption.
  • prevnet.de – Cooperation project between the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA) and the state addiction prevention coordinators from twelve federal states (Bundesländer: Hamburg, Brandenburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Bavaria). The portal presents addiction prevention programmes by the federal government and the federal states (Bundesländer) and connects experts with one another. Information on facilities, activities, supporters, studies and resources relating to addiction prevention is bundled together in one portal. The interactive section of the portal, with forums, mailing lists and work groups, including a virtual office function, allows experts to share knowledge and cooperate across state borders.

Youth-friendly information campaigns are mostly also implemented by the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA).

  • Youth alcohol prevention campaign: Zero alcohol – full power (Null Alkohol – Voll Power) Continuation of the youth campaign OH GREAT! (NA TOLL!) by the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA), launched in 2009. Since 2012, goes under the name Zero alcohol – full power (Null Alkohol - Voll Power). This is an education initiative under the federal government's alcohol policy. It provides young people with information about alcohol and encourages them to take a critical view of their own alcohol consumption, as well as helping them to change damaging consumption behaviour. Target group: young people aged 12 to 16.

See also Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people.