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Post: “Limited Life Approving Emotion”


Depression, anorexia, obesity: many children and teenagers have suffered greatly during the years of the pandemic. Doctor Jörg Dötsch says: This should not be repeated.

ZDFtoday: There are signs that the pandemic will end in almost three years. What is your assessment as a pediatrician?

Jörg Dotsch: We have learned that during the pandemic and that children and young people are a particularly vulnerable group, it is particularly important to prioritize their rights and needs.

  • ZDFtoday: What types of complaints do you see?

    dot: Especially at the first stage, we have taken many measures that reduce the social participation of children and young people, which of course you can not blame anyone. This includes school closures and nursery closures.

    Today, we know that many children and young people, especially from socio-economically weak regions, experience very serious problems as a result. This was something we certainly could not know at the time, but perhaps we did not pay much attention to the plight of children and young people, so we did not give it the appropriate priority.

    ZDFtoday: What are the consequences for children and young people?

    dot: We see a series of episodes. We find that children and young people feel less comfortable, generally have limited life-affirming emotions.

    These are not diseases per se. However, in this context, we see that diseases such as depression or disorders that cause anorexia develop more strongly. This is the psychic side. We’re also seeing the physical consequences of less exercise and less access to fitness clubs. Many children gained weight.

    ZDFtoday: The consequences for poor children are more serious than for others.

    dot: That’s absolutely true. Pre-pandemic problems among children and youth from less affluent backgrounds have increased significantly during the pandemic.

    It has also increased among those from wealthy families, although of course the proportion of struggling children in general isn’t that high among the wealthy, as they weren’t as prominent before the pandemic.

    ZDFtoday: If you collect the scraps of the pandemic and measures, what will be the solution now? What should be done for children and young people?

    dot: We should operate in areas where we can reach almost all children and young people. Be active there by making offers for better health care and better health skills. Kindergartens and more importantly schools are a good place because that’s where we reach all the children and young people, everybody goes there because of compulsory education.

    We believe that we need to rethink schools, schools are not only educational institutions, but also places where health, health education, health literacy and preventive medicine are very important.

    ZDFtoday: How will teachers who complain about too many duties with too few staff do this? They’ll probably say: He’s not either.

    dot: That’s absolutely true. Especially against this background, getting more support from professional groups in the health sector may attract the attention of teachers.

    For example, we found a new way to recruit more pediatricians in school medicine – and we’re very grateful that the public health service is better equipped.

    However, it can be thought that cooperation with sports clubs will be institutionalized. Maybe retired volunteers who still feel good and fit can offer support. Especially if they come from the healthcare industry. Here is where we can offer support for highly stressed and stressed teachers as well.

    ZDFtoday: What should never happen again? What lessons can be drawn from these epidemic years?

    dot: What not to: We neglect the role of children and young people, perhaps because we assume that we can make good use of their plight, perhaps because we are parents, or perhaps even grandchildren, of families. Because if we always start from our own situation, because most of the time we ourselves do not have bad socio-economic conditions and ultimately there are always opportunities to compensate, then we neglect the group of those who do not feel the same way.

    We must have equal rights for all children from the beginning. We must pay particular attention to the financing of institutions that support children and youth.

    It is important that we do not give up, that we do not put the needs of children and young people in the background in the hope that the next crisis – unfortunately, we are experiencing several crises at once – does not happen. too bad for this group

    The interview was conducted by Britta Spiekermann of ZDF capital studio.

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Source: ZDF

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