Just 11 percent of Germans live properly healthy lives, according to a report released on Monday by insurance agency DKV and the German Sport University's Centre for Health in Cologne.
Market research firm GfK asked more than 2,800 German residents about their everyday lives: how much they exercise, what they eat, how stressed they are, their drinking and smoking habits.
Their responses were then judged for meeting certain healthy benchmarks.
The two most unhealthy states were the western North Rhine-Westphalia and the southern Baden-Württemberg, where only 9 percent of residents lived healthy lives, according to the study.
The healthiest state to live in was found to be northeastern Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, one of the poorest states in Germany.
The healthiest German states (darker green means healthier)
Image: DKV report.
The capital Berlin fell somewhere in the middle at 11 percent.
The amount of people nationwide who were getting enough physical activity each week fell from 50 percent in 2014 to 45 percent in 2015.
The study used the World Health Organization’s recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity as a benchmark for sufficient exercise.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania was on top for this category with 55 percent of its residents meeting this target, with Berlin close behind at 54 percent. North Rhine-Westphalia was at the bottom with 48 percent.
When it comes to smoking, hip Berliners apparently are the worst at resisting the ‘cool’ appeal of cigarettes, with roughly one in three identifying as smokers. The state with the least amount of smokers was Saxony where 84 percent of the population are non-smokers.
Overall, less than a quarter of the German population are smokers.
Women beat men for living life healthily
Overall in Germany, women were more healthy on average than men, with 13 percent of women compared to 8 percent of men meeting the benchmarks for a healthy lifestyle.
While men were slightly more physically active than women (47 percent of men compared to 44 percent of women), Germany’s Frauen beat out the Männer in all other areas of nutrition, smoking, drinking and stress.
A nation of sitters
Despite the fact that half of all respondents reported being physically active, the report pointed out a troubling trend of more Germans spending too much time sitting down.
In particular it noted how nearly half of all workers have largely sedentary jobs, with office employees sitting down for a total of 11 hours per day.
“Your mind is active, but from a physical point of view, you have to say: almost half of employees are generally paid for sitting around,” said Clemens Muth, chairman of the board of management at DKV, in a statement.
The study reported that people working desk jobs spent on average 73 percent of their time at work sitting.
“We sit while using the computer, while on the phone and even in meetings. These routines can and should be changed”, Muth said.
Sitting for such long periods of time can have serious long-term health impacts, especially on the fat and blood sugar metabolism.
And even in their free time, Germans seem to on average not move a whole lot: less than one fourth of Germans reported being physically active in their free time or while transporting themselves from one place to another (i.e. riding a bike).
Berliners were the best at being active outside the office, with 32 percent meeting the WHO’s recommendations.
“People with low levels of qualifications generally only move when at work, and very little in their spare time,” Muth said.
“In the digital world, there is going to be less and less physical work involved.”