Covid-19 and the children of Germany – unprecedented physical and psychological damage and fear of the future

Indeed, the Corona pandemic did not claim the lives of many German children, but it caused unprecedented harm to them, whether physical or psychological. Specialists are calling for the development of strategies to keep schools and nurseries open in case the pandemic develops.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has appealed to the federal and 16 state governments to promote sports activity in schools and clubs for children who have become obese due to the closure measures related to the fight against the Corona pandemic.

In statements to the German newspaper “Bild” published today, Wednesday (June 1, 2022), the minister said: “Children have suffered the most from the brunt of the pandemic. The cancellation of many classes, especially physical education classes, has serious side effects on the development of children and adolescents. No, we have to let it come to that again.”

Lauterbach explained that sport is the “best way” to mitigate the psychological effects of crises. This is why sports activities in schools and clubs should be further enhanced.”

The pandemic has made children fatter and less fit

In a related context, parents reported in an opinion poll in Germany that the Corona pandemic hurt the nutritional and exercise behavior of many children and adolescents. According to the poll, the results of which were published on Tuesday, many minors gained a lot of weight during the past two years, as they continued to eat unhealthily and their physical fitness declined.

Presenting the survey results yesterday, Susanne Weirauch-Büller, of the German Obesity Society, said: “We have never seen weight gain on the scale we have seen since the start of the pandemic. This is concerning because being overweight can lead to high blood pressure, fatty liver, or Diabetes in children and adolescents.

Loneliness and fear of the future

The head of the Federal Chamber of Physicians in Germany, Klaus Reinhardt, had called on the government at the end of last month to increase attention to taking care of children and adolescents in the context of combating the Corona pandemic and its repercussions. During the German Doctors Day conference, Reinhart said in Bremen last Friday (May 27, 2022): “We know today the extent of the damage caused by the closure of schools and nurseries and this isolation that lasted for months due to restrictions on contacts, among children and adolescents.”

Reinhart explained that the repercussions of this appeared, for example, in the fear of the future, the increased psychological stress associated with academic achievement, and the feeling of loneliness.

Other repercussions are increased family tensions, conflict and domestic violence, Reinhart noted. Referring to next fall and the possibility of new mutations of the virus, Reinhart said, “We must develop strategies to keep nurseries and schools open and to allow adolescents to live a largely normal life through this method.”