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Health in Children and Adolescents

Approximately 13 million children and adolescents live in Germany. This represents 16% of the population. Just under 680,000 children are born each year.

Childhood and adolescence are characterised by a series of developmental phases with their own specific conditions for wellbeing, physical and mental health, and risks of illness. The health of children and adolescents is influenced by family and social structures as well as medical care services, and also increasingly by their own behaviour as they grow older. 

Health and health-related behaviour during childhood and adolescence has a significant effect on health in later years.

KiGGS Study Accompanies Children into Adulthood

The focus of the KiGGS study is the health of children and adolescents in Germany. This long-term study monitors the health situation of children and adolescents living in Germany and follows them into adulthood. In the planning and execution of the KiGGS study, the RKI works together with many research institutes in Germany and other countries. Along with DEGS and GEDA, KiGGS is one of three studies of the RKI health monitoring programme.

Use of Results

The KiGGS results have been included in many scientific publications, in health monitoring of the federal government and in public health plans. Examples are the 13th Children and Youth Report, an expert report for the Federal Ministry of Health on "Inequalities in Health in Children and Adolescents", as well as contributory work for the Council of Experts for the Health System on the topic “Health of Children and Adolescents in Specific Life Phases in Germany”.

Furthermore, the KiGGS results were considered in the federal government’s Poverty and Wealth report, in the strategy for the promotion of health in children, in formulation of national health targets, and in planning of services for prevention and health promotion in the German federal states. The KiGGS results were also picked up with great interest in other German-speaking countries (for example in the Austrian government’s “Child Health Dialogue” programme).

The brochure “Detect – Assess – Act: On the Health of Children and Adolescents in Germany” systematically works through the KiGGS basic survey results and the recommendations for action which can be derived from these results.


Vaccinations in the first year of life and risk of atopic disease - Results from the KiGGS study

Schlaud M, Schmitz R, Poethko-Müller C, Kuhnert R (2017) Vaccine: Epub Aug 8.doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.07.111

Comprehensive assessment of food and nutrient intake of children and adolescents in Germany: EsKiMo II – the eating study as a KiGGS module

Lage Barbosa C, Brettschneider AK, Haftenberger M, Lehmann F, Frank M, Heide K, Patelakis E, Perlitz H, Krause L, Houben R, Butschalowsky HG, Richter A, Kamtsiuris P, Mensink GBM (2017) BMC Nutrition 3:75 DOI: 10.1186/s40795-017-0196-5

Prevalence and Trends in the Utilization of Gynecological Services by Adolescent Girls in Germany. Results of the German Health Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS)

Krause L, Seeling S, Prütz F, Rommel A (2017) Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 77 (09): 1002–1012. doi: 10.1055/s-0043-118284

Growth attainment in German children born preterm, and cardiovascular risk factors in adolescence. Analysis of the population representative KiGGS data

Bergmann RL, Bergmann KE, Richter R, Schlaud M, Henrich W, Weichert A (2017) J Perinat Med. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2016-0294.

Reduced pain perception in children and adolescents with ADHD is normalized by methylphenidate.

Wolff N, Rubia K, Knopf H, Hölling H et al. (2016) Child Adolesc. Psychiatry Ment. Health 10: 24 doi: 10.1186/s13034-016-0112-9

Social determinants of swimming ability among children and adolescents in Germany. Results of KiGGS wave 1

Kuntz B, Frank L, Manz K, Rommel A, Lampert T (2016) Dtsch Z Sportmed. 2016; 67: 137-143 DOI: 10.5960/dzsm.2016.238

Lower prevalence of atopic dermatitis and allergic sensitization among children and adolescents with a two-sided migrant background

Ernst SA, Schmitz R, Thamm M, Ellert U (2016) Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 13(3):265. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13030265

Health-related behaviour among children of childhood cancer survivors in Germany

Balcerek M, Schuster T, Korte E, Seidel J, Schilling R, Hölling H, Borgmann-Staudt A (2016) Klin. Padiatr.: Epub Dec 14. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-116151

Die aktuelle Situation der Gesundheit von Kindern und Jugendlichen

Poethko-Müller C, Schmitz R, Ellert U (2015) Public Health Forum 23(1): 30–32 DOI 10.1515/pubhef-2015-0013

Association between serum thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and serum lipids in children and adolescents: a population-based study of German youth

Witte T, Ittermann T, Thamm M, Riblet NBV, Völzke H (2015) J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 100(5):2090-2097 doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4466

Insomnia complaints and substance use in German adolescents: did we underestimate the role of coffee consumption? Results of the KiGGS study

Skarubke C, Schlack R, Lange K, Goerke M, Dueck A, Thome J, Szagun B, Cohrs S (2015) J. Neural Transm doi: 10.1007/s00702-015-1448-7

Electronic media use and insomnia complaints in German adolescents: gender differences in use patterns and sleep problems

Lange K, Cohrs S, Skarupke C, Görke M, Szagun B, Schlack R (2015) J Neural Transm doi: 10.1007/s00702-015-1482-5

Effectiveness of routine and booster pertussis vaccination in children and adolescents, federal State of Brandenburg, Germany, 2002–2012

Haller S, Dehnert M, Karagiannis I, Rieck T, Siffczyk C, Wichmann O, Poethko-Mueller C, Hellenbrand W (2015) Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 34(5):513–519. Epub Jan 23. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000000654.

Blood pressure in 57,915 pediatric patients who are overweight or obese based on five reference systems

Flechtner-Mors M, Neuhauser H et al. (2015) Am J Cardiol 115(11):1587-1594 doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2015.02.063

Dietary behaviour and parental socioeconomic position among adolescents: the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents 2003–2006 (KiGGS)

Finger JD, Varnaccia G, Tylleskär T, Lampert T, Mensink GBM (2015) · BMC Public Health · 15:498 · doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1830-2

Updated prevalence rates of overweight and obesity in 11- to 17-year-old adolescents in Germany. Results from the telephone-based KiGGS Wave 1 after correction for bias in self-reports.

Brettschneider AK, Schaffrath Rosario A, Kuhnert R, Schmidt S, Wiegand S, Ellert U, Kurth BM (2015) BMC Public Health 2015, 15:1101  doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2467-x

Modelling trajectories of psychosomatic health complaints in children and adolescents: results from the BELLA cohort study (Abstract)

Barkmann C, Otto C, Schön G, Schulte-Markwort M, Schlack R, Ravens-Sieberer U, Klasen F, The BELLA study group (2014) Eur Child Adolesc Psychatry. Epub 2014 Dec 24 doi: 10.1007/s00787-014-0656-2

Relative validation of the KiGGS Food Frequency Questionnaire among adolescents in Germany

Julia Truthmann, Gert BM Mensink, Almut Richter (2011) Nutrition Journal, 10:133

Blood Pressure Percentiles by Age and Height From Nonoverweight Children and Adolescents in Germany

Neuhauser HK, Thamm M, Ellert U, Hense HW, Schaffrath Rosario A (2011) Pediatrics 127 (4): e978-988. doi:10.1542/peds.2010-1290

Pain perceived in a national community sample of German children and adolescents

Du Y, Knopf H, Zhuang W, Ellert U (2011) Eur J Pain 15 (6): 649–657

Risk factors for obesity: further evidence for stronger effects on overweight children and adolescents compared to normal-weight subjects

Beyerlein A, Toschke AM, Schaffrath Rosario A, von Kries R (2011) PLoS One. 2011 Jan 20;6(1):e15739.

Body mass index percentiles for children and adolescents in Germany based on a nationally representative sample (KiGGS 2003–2006)

Schaffrath Rosario A, Kurth BM, Stolzenberg H, Ellert U, Neuhauser H (2010) European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 64, 341–349

Nationally representative waist circumference percentiles in German adolescents aged 11.0-18.0 years

Kromeyer-Hauschild K, Dortschy R, Stolzenberg H, Neuhauser H, Rosario AS (2010) Int J Pediatr Obes. 6(2-2):e129-37. Epub 2010 Oct 15. doi: 10.3109/17477166.2010.490267

Relevance of age-related growth references: variations in body measurements among girls in relation to their menarche status

Bau AM, Schaffrath Rosario A, Wiegand S, Martus P, Schenk L (2010): Journal of Public Health (published online)

Sleep Duration and Obesity in Children: Is the Association Dependent on Age and Choice of the Outcome Parameter?

Bayer O, Schaffrath Rosario A, Wabitsch M, von Kries R (2009) Sleep. 2009 September 1; 32(9): 1183–1189.