Over half of Germans are overweight
Over half of all people in Germany suffer from obesity. This resulted in a small request from the party "Die Linke" to the federal government. The proportion of eating disorders among children and adolescents is particularly worrying.
The left-wing faction asked the federal government how high the percentage of overweight people in Germany is at present. The answer seems alarming: over 50 percent of men and women are too fat. In exact numbers, 67 percent of men and 53 percent of women are currently overweight or already suffering from obesity. The numbers are particularly bad among young people. The age group of 25 to 29 year olds is particularly affected by overweight. About 47 percent of young men and almost 40 percent of women are obese. The Federal Government also confirmed the assumption that low income and thus a lower social status promote “being fat”.
Many children and adolescents suffer from eating disorders, according to the federal government. Already 21.9 percent of the 11- to 17-year-olds showed symptoms such as anorexia, bulimia or overweight. A differentiated view shows that girls in the age group suffer from eating disorders in 28.9 percent of the cases and boys in 15.2 percent. Almost 50 percent of the girls think “they are too fat even though they have a normal weight BMI.
According to Reinhard Mann, head of the nutrition department at the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) in Cologne, parents should not panic if their offspring is slightly overweight. Prescribing a diet immediately may be more harmful than it is useful. In addition, diets in children and adolescents should only be seen after a doctor's order or consultation, since children need important nutrients to grow. “If children are malnourished in the growth phase, this can lead to physical damage,” says Mann. It is better to pay attention to allowing children more physical exercise. If you are slightly overweight, it is advisable to "just keep an eye on children".
Losing excess pounds is not a matter of counting calories, the expert said. Many factors play a role in weight gain. "Please also pay attention to media consumption. There is a connection between the time children spend in front of the media and being overweight, ”explains the nutritionist. For example, children of primary school age (6 to 10 years) should not consume media such as television or computers for more than an hour.
Children who are overweight should be given support in coping with everyday stress. This includes, for example, giving them enough time to eat. Because "children can estimate quite well when they are full, when they have enough time and do not have to loop because they should go to the next appointment." The portioning of the food should also be left to the children. "If it is too much, I can comment: take less, you can have more later," advises Mann.
It's hard to say when a child is actually too fat, has a strong physique, or actually has a few pounds too much. There is no simple formula for this. The body mass index (BMI) can measure the weight of adults and children, "but the BMI alone is not enough". The percentile curves evaluate once more differentiated according to age and gender. If the child's BMI is in the red range, the child is emotionally in a bad mood and moves little, should parents react.
Under no circumstances should parents act on their own and simply put the children on a diet. It is better to "get help from the pediatrician". This also applies if children suffer from underweight. “Otherwise it is enough to watch the child first. How does the figure develop? Is it moving normally? Is it rather calm or lively? Is it worried and depressed? ”Says Mann. Overweight often grows over time. In a third of the children who previously had overweight, the weight returns to normal. However, a third of normal-weight children get fat later, Mann said. (sb)