Young adults in Germany lack health education

Klaus Hurrelmann co-develops STADA Health Report 2017 with worrisome results for younger generations.

Klaus Hurrelmann, Professor of Public Health and Education, co-developed the STADA Health Report, the latest edition of which was published this week. The 2017 report focused on the health knowledge of the younger generation, surveying 2,000 Germans between the ages of 18 and 24.

The survey results were described as “worrisome”. The majority of young adults lack sufficient health literacy. Some of the bigger health misconceptions include the following: only 40 percent of young people surveyed know how long they are contagious when they have a cold and 85 percent didn’t know that unprotected sex can lead to the transmission of sexually-transmitted diseases.

One of the main reasons why younger generations have an insufficient level of health competence is because health is rarely taught in German schools, and they are not self-acquiring knowledge later in life, despite better access to information via the Internet. However, for the 36 percent of young people with sufficient health literacy, health played a major role in their school classrooms.

The results suggest that a health curricula in German schools would make a big difference. According to Klaus Hurrelmann, “Health needs a fixed place in the classroom, either as its own subject or it needs to be integrated into other subjects”.

This could go a long way in helping young adults better navigate the healthcare system, understand doctors’ instructions and take better care of their own health.

The full survey is available in German and can be downloaded here.

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