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However, development primarily affects children from socially better-off families
The health of school-age children in Hamburg has improved in the past ten years. This emerges from a current report of the authority for health and consumer protection (BGV). Accordingly, obesity and allergies have decreased, participation in preventive examinations and the number of measles vaccinations have increased significantly. Despite everything, the chances of good health and prevention still seem to be unevenly distributed. Because socially disadvantaged children and children with a migration background would show signs of health restrictions more often.
Report is based on more than 26,000 school entry exams
Hamburg's children are significantly healthier at school than they were ten years ago. This is shown in the report on “Health of Hamburg children at school age” published by the Authority for Health and Consumer Protection (BGV). This is based on almost 26,300 school entrance examinations in 2013 and 2014 and describes numerous health aspects in children aged five and a half to six years, such as Body weight, vaccination protection and participation in child check-ups. The second study of this kind was already presented in Hamburg, the first was published in 2007 and was based on the years 2004 and 2005.
Fewer cases of obesity and chronic illnesses
It was shown that the proportion of overweight and chronically ill children has decreased. Participation in preventive examinations and the vaccination rate have also increased. “On the one hand, the results are gratifying and the result of our activities to promote child health. On the other hand, unfortunately not all families and children in Hamburg benefit to the same extent from the good developments, ”said Health Senator Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks (SPD), according to a message from the BGV. According to this, socially disadvantaged children, children of single parents and children with a migration background are more likely to show signs of poorer health and are also more exposed to health risks.
“This is where we have to use the lever and make it even more the focus of our efforts. The results reinforce our policy to offer prevention chains for children and families in the neighborhoods and to promote health from the start with “early help”, emphasized Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks. According to the Health Senator, these relationships are not only recognizable in Hamburg, but have also been shown in nationwide studies.
Single parent children are more likely to have a headache
In detail, the report shows, for example, that the general well-being of children was significantly better overall in 2013 and 2014 than ten years earlier. According to this, the figures for abdominal pain went from 4.8% to 3.7%, for headaches from 2.7 to 1.9 percent and for sleep disorders from 2.2 to 1.4 percent. However, children of single parents were more often affected by these symptoms, for example, in the case of headaches, they came to just under 5 percent.
Compared to 2004 and 2005, more children also took part in the early detection examinations (U1 to U9). The difference is particularly noticeable with the U7, which was carried out at 93 instead of 88 percent. According to the report, however, the documentation would show that children from socially disadvantaged families and children with a migrant background are less likely to take advantage of preventive care.
Vaccination rate in the "forest villages" significantly lower
There were also clear differences in the topic of “vaccination”. Especially when it comes to vaccination against measles, it turned out that the numbers vary widely depending on the district. While in Ottensen, Rotherbaum and in the so-called "forest villages" such as Duvenstedt recently had only 82 to 88 percent of the five to six-year-old children vaccinated against measles, Rothenburgsort and Billstedt reached 93 to 95 percent and Wilhelmsburg 95 to 100 percent.
According to Cornelia Prüfer-Storcks, the lower vaccination protection in some parts of the city is a “middle class phenomenon”. “Some parents completely overestimate the risks and side effects of vaccination and greatly underestimate what it would mean if their child went through the disease,” said the senator according to the Hamburger Abendblatt. "We must not stop pointing out that vaccination is the best way to protect children from diseases."
Overall, according to the report, more children were protected against diseases such as diphtheria, hepatitis B, polio, measles, mumps and rubella than ten years ago. Children with a migration background showed better protection overall than children without a migration background - however, vaccination protection was again lower among those who were not born in Germany.
Every tenth child is still too fat
While about twelve percent of children were classified as overweight or obese ten years earlier, this value fell to around ten percent in 2013/2014. According to the report, children with a migration background who are to be enrolled are particularly affected by overweight and obesity. In addition, it became apparent that children of parents with a low professional status (16 percent) were far too often overweight than their peers from socially better-off families (4.6 percent).
There was also a decline in chronic diseases. Here one in ten of the children to be schooled in Hamburg was affected - significantly less than in 2004/2005. The most common chronic illness at school age is neurodermatitis, but here too the proportion fell from 9.1 to 6 percent within ten years. (No)