DKV-Report 2018 – Germany is running out of breath

Media Information, 30.07.2018

For the first time a new negative record has taken the number of Germans meeting the requirements for a healthy lifestyle to below ten percent. The number of persons interviewed who pay attention to exercise, diet, consumption of nicotine and alcohol and a healthy approach to stress has decreased again since the DKV-Report 2016. In the first DKV-Report in 2010, fourteen percent achieved the benchmark for a healthy lifestyle; this year, the figure has dropped to nine percent. As in previous years, the market research institute GfK Nuremberg conducted a minimum of 200 interviews in each federal state on the subject of health habits for the DKV Report “How healthy is Germany?”. The scientific director of the report is Ingo Froböse, professor at the German Sport University Cologne.

Gesundes Leben - DKV-Report 2018

The people of Hamburg and Saxony top this year’s list for a healthy lifestyle. Twelve percent of those interviewed achieved all benchmarks in the areas physical activity, diet, smoking, alcohol and stress. Hesse comes in last with just over seven percent.

Saxony-Anhalt gets the most exercise
“When it comes to physical exercise, there is a substantial gap between the top ranking states and those at the bottom of the list”, says Ingo Froböse, professor at the German Sport University Cologne and scientific director of the DKV-Report. The most active people in Germany live in Saxony-Anhalt. More than half of the population here, 53 percent, comply with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on physical activity across the areas work, transport and leisure. People from Hesse get the least exercise, with only 37 percent achieving the guidelines – a gap of 16 percent compared with the top-ranked state.

“Germany is running out of breath”, says Clemens Muth, Chairman of the DKV Board of Management, commenting on the results. “Since the first edition of the Report in 2010, Germans have been exercising less and less – despite the fact that physical activity is essential for our wellbeing. This applies to all age groups, and it starts in childhood.”

The Germans like to sit – and people in Berlin most of all
Germans sit for an average of 7.5 hours a day. Compared with the DKV-Report 2016, the median for this year is 450 minutes, which is half an hour longer and back up to the level of 2012. In a comparison of all federal states, Berliners spend most of their time on their backside, sitting for a full 518 minutes, the equivalent of 8.6 hours. Clocking in at ninety minutes less – only seven hours and ten minutes – the people of Saxony-Anhalt (426 minutes) spend a full working day sitting down, putting them ahead of the rest of Germany.

“As a private health insurer, we view a lack of exercise as one of the main causes of cardio-vascular disease”, says Muth. “Exercise is not a question of age, but of motivation.”

Saxons enjoy a balanced, vitamin-rich diet
People in the eastern German states in particular pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet. The Saxons are exemplary in this respect: 59 percent of those surveyed stated that a vitamin-rich, balanced and healthy diet was very important. In contrast, only 44 percent of those surveyed in North Rhine-Westphalia put a balanced diet at the top of their agenda, relegating them firmly to bottom place in this category.

Smoky haze on the Baltic Coast
Smoking is out, or so it seems: across Germany, almost four-fifths of the population are non-smokers. The most non-smokers live in Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg, where 82 percent of the population shuns cigarettes. Smoking is most common on the German Baltic coast: 28 percent of people in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are smokers.

Moderate alcohol consumption: wine regions are simultaneously at the top and bottom of the list
The Hessians are most partial to a drink, while the lowest levels of alcohol consumption are in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. Yes to a drink, but in moderation. This appears to be the motto in Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland: 86 percent of people here are very conscious of alcohol consumption. People in Hesse are most likely to have a drink; only 76 percent of the population stick to the recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption.

The people of Baden-Württemberg are most resistant to stress
“A healthy approach to stress is also extremely important”, emphasizes Froböse. “However, according to the results, almost half of all respondents (43 percent) are unable to sufficiently compensate for the stress they experience. Top of the list in this category are people in Baden-Württemberg, where 62 percent achieve the benchmark for healthy stress management. People from Saxony-Anhalt, Hesse and Brandenburg have the highest levels of stress: only one in two people state that they are able to compensate for stress adequately.

Closing the regeneration gap
Overall, Germans tend to feel increasingly in need of regeneration by the end of the week. The results at the beginning and at the end of the week show a regeneration gap of 15 percentage points, and this has a direct effect on performance and concentration. Strength in tranquillity seems to be the key principle when it comes to regenerating from daily stress: in addition to sleep, the most popular activities among those surveyed were recreational sports and leisure activities.

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  


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