Growing up healthily
Essential, health-relevant behavioural patterns develop in childhood and youth that are of decisive importance in adult life. Many health disorders in young years become risk factors for serious illnesses in later life. The promotion of child and youth health is therefore a priority task of far-reaching importance.
BZgA’s measures and programmes are aimed not only at children and young people themselves, but also at parents, educators, teachers, community workers and other multipliers. The materials and projects are developed on the basis of the latest research findings, adapted to specific target groups and regularly evaluated. The accompanying quality assurance measures ensure that media and programmes are constantly updated, and new ones developed if and when necessary.
BZgA’s holistic, life-accompanying concept for promoting the health of children and young people caters to the complex interplay of personal and social factors. The measures are geared to the different situations of children and young people in life. They consider individual behaviour and equally the respective framework conditions. After all, knowledge, attitudes and health-oriented behaviour can only develop and permanently establish themselves in the first place if the living conditions as a whole, and similarly the specific settings, have health-promoting structures. In this context, the promotion of equal opportunities is a cross-sectional task in all measures.
In its current projects, BZgA communicates health-related knowledge with the additional aim of improving the skills of child-raisers as regards promoting the healthy development of children and identifying potential disruptive factors. An extensive catalogue of information media is available here. The healthy development of children is dealt with not only in a wide range of brochures, but also on the Internet portal at www.kindergesundheit-info.de. Complex information for parents in connection with the programme of medical check-ups for children (U1-U9) is currently being tested and scientifically evaluated.
A further element is targeted measures for increasing utilisation of the preventive services offered by the health system. This particularly includes advertising of the early detection check-ups (U1-U9) and the youth health check-up (J1). Child-raisers and young people are informed about these offers, sensitised to the benefits of preventive measures and motivated to utilise them.
Information materials on the healthy development of children and young people
This is the Internet portal of the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) dealing with children’s health and development. Parents and professionals can find a host of information on children’s healthy development here. In addition to basic information on each topic, there are numerous practical tips, answers to frequently asked questions, further links and much more. The "Advice & Help" section additionally tells parents who they can turn to with their questions and problems relating to the health and development of their child, as well as in everyday family life and child-raising. Professionals who deal with children in their daily work can consult the "For Professionals" section, where they can find fundamental information and background knowledge relating to issues of children’s development.
The youth health check-up (J1) is a preventive measure giving young people between the ages of 12 and 14 the opportunity to be examined and advised by a paediatrician, general practitioner or internal specialist. Free of charge, no practice fee.
Height, weight and blood pressure are measured, the body functions checked, e.g. the heart stethoscoped and the abdomen palpated. The blood values can likewise be checked, if necessary. In addition, the current vaccination status is determined and missing vaccinations given, where appropriate. The concluding consultation offers the young people the opportunity to ask questions and raise issues that interest and occupy them.
The Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) launched the project "I go to the check-ups! How about you?" as a campaign to increase utilisation of the early detection check-ups offered in childhood.
The latest data confirm that this utilisation declines over the years, i.e. between the age of 2 and preschool age. Particularly children from socially disadvantaged parental homes and children of migrants utilise examinations U7, U8 and U9 to a lesser extent. The result of this is that, for example, developmental disorders are often not detected before the children start school, and therefore cannot be treated in time.
The "I go to the check-ups! How about you?" campaign therefore focuses on the following aims:
- Provision of information on the early detection check-ups,
- Increased utilisation - particularly of check-ups U7 to U9 by parents in socially disadvantaged situations - and completion of the children’s vaccinations,
- Sensitisation of parents to the benefits of preventive measures and motivation to practice self-responsible, health-promoting behaviour,
- Support of networks and players (doctors, kindergartens, youth welfare offices, public health service, health insurance funds, and neighbourhood managers in social hotspots).
The expert database "Prevention of Child Accidents" provides a qualified, nationwide overview of activities, media and measures concerning the prevention of accidents involving children. The database can be used to search for addresses and concrete information on the offerings reported by a host of providers, such as authorities, specialist associations, societies, organisations, companies, etc. Many materials have a link for downloading and direct viewing and can be printed or ordered if needed. The Portal provides rapid, direct information. www.bzga.de/kindersicherheit supports cooperation between the actors and stakeholders in the field of "Prevention of child injuries and accidents” and facilitates the transfer of successful projects.