Well-being keeps the poor in poverty
Every seventh child in Germany is poor and reinforced by
In Germany, people who have less than 600 euros a month are poor.
Illness threatened. Experts from the European Poverty Network warn: Poverty increases the risk of falling ill tenfold.
Poverty in Germany is increasing continuously and affects more and more groups in society. The WHO defines poverty in terms of income. According to this, those who have less than half of the average monthly income in their country are poor. In Germany that is around 600 euros. Around eleven and a half million people currently live below the poverty line. For many of those affected, the poor financial situation is also a health threat. Because among experts it is almost undisputed that poverty also increases the risk of falling ill.
Erika Biehn, deputy spokeswoman for the European Poverty Network (EAPN), pointed out the connection between poverty and health at the EAPN General Assembly in Berlin: "According to our estimates, poor people have a ten times higher health risk than non-poor people." Report 2002 “WHO identifies poverty as the single greatest condition of poor health. "Poverty is associated with lower life expectancy, higher child mortality and a higher risk of infection with infectious diseases, especially HIV and TB," the report said.
Financially difficult situations lead to further burdens: For example, psychosocial stress increases, which further affects the subjective well-being of poor people. A broad spectrum of illnesses is favored by the poor general psychological well-being. In this context, the WHO names high blood pressure and stomach ulcers as diseases directly caused by poverty and, in its European health report, speaks of a “vicious circle of poverty and poor health”. Both WHO and EAPN see the main causes of poverty in unemployment. The unemployed are particularly vulnerable to depression and cardiovascular disease.
Unemployment makes you sick
But it is not just the state of unemployment and the resulting poverty that make you sick. The fear of losing one's job, which is particularly widespread in economically uncertain times, is also harmful to health. The WHO sees this as an increased psychosocial stress. The consequences are similar to those of actual unemployment. The unemployed have poorer health behavior; they smoke more and exercise less; and they are therefore more likely to be very overweight. Hypertensive blood pressure values and increased cholesterol
urine mirrors are therefore often the result. In addition, unemployed parents use health check-ups for their children by up to 30 percent less than working parents (see also Trabert, DÄ, issue 3/2002). The dental health of children in particular suffers from this. Their caries rate is 44 percent, more than twice as high as that of children with working parents (20 percent).
Similar to unemployment, the level of education is also a decisive factor for the state of health. The Federal Statistical Office confirms the thesis that belonging to a lower social class makes you sick. For example, there is a relationship between higher tobacco consumption, obesity and lower income. This less favorable health behavior leads Prof. Dr. rer. pole. Uwe Helmert, Center for Social Policy at the University of Bremen, mainly on the lower level of education of the lower social and income groups. "Those with a lower level of education receive less information about preventive health care and good health behavior," emphasized Helmert to the Deutsches Ärzteblatt.
Healthy eating is often unaffordable for poor people. Photos: dpa
According to the WHO, women are over-represented in the poor population in Europe. The average income of women is only 60 to 70 percent of that of men. Women are also at risk from their health due to the double burden in work and family, in which it is often necessary for both partners to go to work. Women are more likely than men to develop depression or an anxiety disorder. This is explained by the double burden. A relatively new problem arises from the growing number of single women. In the past, the main problem was that women had not paid into the pension insurance for a long time and were dependent on social assistance in old age, but now more and more younger women and their children need help with their livelihood. This is because there are far more women who either do not live with the father of their children or the father does not earn any money himself. Prof. Dr. phil. Ulrike Maschewsky-Schneider, Institute for Health Sciences at TU Berlin, told Deutsches Ärzteblatt: “Especially women with several children cannot go to work and are therefore dependent on social assistance. This makes children a risk of poverty, and upbringing - especially several children - becomes a stigma. ”At its general assembly, the EAPN called for the expansion of childcare options for children under three years of age and for schoolchildren.
Children are also particularly affected: "We used to have a poverty trend among older women, today we have it among children," said Maschewsky-Schneider. According to estimates, more than a million children in Germany are below average wealthy and therefore have a health risk that is one third higher than that of other children. That means: every seventh child in Germany is poor.
Poor children: disadvantages remain
According to studies by workers' welfare among poor children in day-care centers, every third child is disadvantaged in several areas of life due to the difficult economic situation of their parents. According to this, the affected children are more often ill, neglected and often arrive hungry at daycare. About ten percent are physically underdeveloped. This has serious psychosocial effects: destitute children and adolescents are more anxious, feel more helpless and have less self-confidence than their wealthier peers. These disadvantages suffered in childhood continue into adulthood. Anyone who suffered from poverty as a child is more likely to be chronically ill as an adult.
The health behavior of socially disadvantaged children and adolescents is also worse: They smoke more than
other peers, eat poorly and exercise too little. The Federal Health Report (GBE) therefore recommends comprehensive psychological and medical care, especially in schools. In addition, the GBE calls on youth and family welfare to provide the families concerned with support, advice and help in everyday life. Astrid Barrera Pesek
Social medicine: Poverty threatens health
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