Health Promotion & Prevention
While health promotion asks what keeps people healthy, prevention focuses on the prevention of disease (primary prevention), early detection and treatment of disease (secondary prevention), and prevention of deterioration and consequential damage due to an existing disease (tertiary prevention).
Due to the high concentration of health institutions, Berlin and Brandenburg offer a wide range of health promotion measures for all age groups and needs. The interaction of a wide variety of stakeholders in the region is a significant factor: Cost bearers such as the health insurance companies, the German Pension Insurance and the Statutory Accident Insurance, together with sports associations, adult education centers, doctors, companies, chambers of industry and commerce, schools and daycare centers, as well as many other stakeholders make a significant contribution to target group-specific health promotion and prevention. With an eye to the future, the collaboration with IT companies on web or telemedicine-based prevention offers will become increasingly important.
Health Goals and Initiatives
The Federal States of Berlin and Brandenburg have defined their own priorities as part of the national health goal process: In Brandenburg, these are being implemented through the “Growing Up Healthy” and “Healthy Aging in the Federal State of Brandenburg” alliances. In Berlin, the Federal State Health Conference acts as the decision-making body for the health goals. So far, three Berlin health goals have been defined: “Maintaining independence and quality of life in old age,” “Improving health opportunities for children and adolescents – Reducing disadvantages,” and “Strengthening healthy working in Berlin.”
The sick leave of employees in Berlin and Brandenburg has risen slightly in recent years. In terms of the aging process, the impact of demographic change is becoming increasingly challenging: Older employees in Berlin and Brandenburg are particularly affected by sick leave, accidents at work, and early retirement. With increasing age, more serious illnesses associated with longer absences or even forced early exit from work are playing an increasingly important role. Demographic change could increase work absences in the future.
This is shown by the fourth Berlin-Brandenburg interstate health report. It collects data from six statutory health insurance companies as well as accident and pension insurances and provides an overview of incapacity for work, access to reduced earning capacity pension, as well as accident and occupational diseases for the years 2014 to 2016. The report, which was initiated and published by the Cluster Health Economy Berlin-Brandenburg - HealthCapital, is based on data from around 87 percent (1,985,264 individuals) of all persons insured with statutory social insurance in Berlin and Brandenburg from 2014 to 2016. The results underline the importance of preventive measures as part of occupational health management to ensure employees’ capacity to work for as long as possible. The fourth interstate health report is available for download free of charge (only in German).
Health insurance companies support companies in the introduction of workplace health promotion measures. The Prevention Act obliges them to spend two euros per insured individual per year on occupational health promotion measures. Companies wishing to introduce Workplace Health Promotion can contact a fund of their choice or find a suitable contact person for their project through the Workplace Health Promotion Coordination Office.
Nutrition occupies a special position in the area of preventive measures, as both overeating and malnutrition are developing into a significant health risk in industrialized countries.
Against this background, there are a large number of initiatives and programs for nutrition-related behavior prevention in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. Institutions such as the renowned German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke and the innovation center Technologies for Health and Nutrition of the TU Berlin are working on the education of nutrition-related diseases, among others. This is resulting in new strategies for the prevention and treatment of illnesses as well as nutritional recommendations for different target groups. As part of the Platform for Nutrition and Exercise (peb), members of the public sector, science, business, sports, health care, and civil society are taking a stand for a balanced diet and sufficient exercise for children and adolescents. The Berlin Kita Daycare and School Catering Networking Office supports all activities that are suitable for ensuring high-quality and health-promoting public meals for children and adolescents as well as promoting the nutrition and consumer education of all parties involved in the communal catering sector. The Nutriact project researches nutritional patterns as well as measures to help 50-70 year-olds make the transition to a healthier diet.