DKV-Report 2018 – Germans remain couch potatoes

Media Information, 30.07.2018

Lack of exercise is becoming an ever-greater problem in Germany. In 2010, according to that year’s DKV-Report, 60 percent achieved the guidelines for physical activity; now, only 43 percent – less than half of all Germans – get enough exercise. The long-term effects can be back problems, obesity, high blood pressure, many types of cancer and type II diabetes.

A lack of physical activity not only has a negative impact on physical health, it can also affect our mental wellbeing: “Sufficient exercise in our leisure time is a good way of reducing stress”, says Ingo Froböse, professor at the German Sport University Cologne and scientific director of the DKV-Report. “So anyone who isn’t getting enough exercise may not be able to compensate for everyday stress, which in turn can make them susceptible for psychosomatic ailments.”

A particularly alarming finding revealed in the DKV-Report is that ten percent of those interviewed stated that they did not perform any physical activity that lasted for longer than ten minutes at a time, either at work, on the way to and from work or during their leisure time.

Trend towards group activities

The Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018, which is an annual global study conducted by US sports colleges and associations on the topic of fitness trends , identified some alternatives that may motivate people to take up a physical activity. While conventional training and sports, such as running, cycling or swimming – which are usually solo activities – are slipping down the list of popular activities this year, group activities are experiencing a resurgence in popularity in 2018. This upturn is not limited to a specific type of sport; depending on personal preference and age, these activities include indoor cycling, aerobics and dance classes.

Sedentary activities: television and work are making people sit for longer

Germans are sitting for longer again: after a minor improvement in 2016, people in Germany are spending more time seated, with sitting increasing by 30 minutes a day to 7.5 hours. “Scientific research indicates that long, uninterrupted or barely interrupted periods of sitting can be a key cause of lifestyle diseases”, says Froböse. “These negative health effects can only be mitigated with a lot of physical activity.”

The combination of a sedentary lifestyle (more than eight hours daily) and the respondents stating that they were physically inactive makes it clear that almost one in three will suffer a detrimental effect on their overall health in future. A total of 28 percent of those interviewed confessed that they spend long periods sitting and do not get any exercise, thus failing to meet the minimum activity recommendations.

Nearly one in three spends between four and six hours a day sitting at work; this applies in particular to younger people. “A healthy attitude to exercise starts in childhood. We need to encourage exercise behaviour in kindergartens and schools in particular”, says Clemens Muth, Chairman of the DKV Board of Management. “Awareness of physical activity is just as important as learning about the laws of gravity.”

An overview of the 2018 DKV report:
Scientific Directors Prof. Ingo Froböse Zentrum für Gesundheit durch Sport und Bewegung der Deutschen Sporthochschule, German and Birgit Sperlich (Julius-Maximilians Universität Würzburg). 
CAT1 telephone survey  GfK Nuremberg
Number of participants 2,885
Survey period 2 March to 1 April 2018

For further information, please contact:

Ronny Winkler

Media Relations

Tel +49 211 477-3012

About DKV

For over 90 years, the DKV has been a pioneer in the industry with needs-orientated and innovative products. The health specialist provides comprehensive health and nursing care insurance coverage, as well as health care services to customers in private and state health insurance, and organises high-quality medical care. In 2017, the company recorded a premium income of 4.85 billion euros.
DKV is the health insurance specialist of the ERGO Group and thus part of Munich Re, one of the world's leading reinsurers and risk carriers. More at  


This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current assumptions and forecasts of the management of DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the forward-looking statements given here and the actual development, in particular the results, financial situation and performance of our Company. The Company assumes no liability to update these forwardlooking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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