Last year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic more Germans have placed higher value on health and family than in previous years, according to two surveys. For Germans, in times of crisis physical and social well-being are more important than consumerism.

In two current surveys by the Opaschowski Institute for Foresight (OIZ), health and family well-being were ranked the most valuable by Germans compared to other aspects of life. The two surveys asked 1000 Germans about their priorities in times of crisis at the beginning of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

This year’s results found:

  • Family is the most important thing in life for 94% of Germans.
    • That is an increase of 7% points compared to 2020.
  • 93% found health to be the most important.
    • That is an increase of 3% points compared to the previous year.
  • Neither money and goods nor consumption and property or mobility and travel could compete with family and health.

The younger generations are valuing health more as well.

  • 90% of the 14 to 24 year olds placed the highest value on health in 2021.
    • That is a 3% point increase from the previous year.

Amidst lockdown and physical distancing measures, health and family have become indispensable resources in Germans’ lives. According to Horst Opaschowski, head of OIZ and futurologist, whatever happens, Germans want to be able to look positively into the near future in a health and socially secure manner and make the most of their lives even in the midst of the crisis.

A new culture of physical and social well-being replaces belief in the boundless “more and more”. Happy is who can be satisfied with himself and his life,” said Horst Opaschowski, head of OIZ and futurologist, as per

Horst Opaschowski, futurologist, head of OIZ and

Alcohol products: A barrier for health

The products and practices of the alcohol industry are a major barrier to Germans’ health. As Movendi International reported previously alcohol harm is very high in Germany.

  • 74,000 people die every year due to alcohol in Germany.
  • Approximately 21,700 children and youth between the age of 10 and 20 years were hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning, in 2017.
  • The tax revenue from the alcohol industry – approximately €3 billion – does not even begin to cover the €40 billion costs of the harm their products and practices cause to German society.

Unfortunately, alcohol policy in Germany is outdated and ineffective and does not protect citizens. Any attempt to improve, update and modernize alcohol laws is derailed by alcohol industry interference. In 2009, when then Federal Commissioner for Drugs, Mrs. Bätzing had proposed evidence-based and WHO-recommended alcohol policy solutions, the lobby interference of the alcohol industry and their allies derailed any progress and ultimately destroyed the entire effort to better protect people and communities.

Therefore, alcohol is becoming cheaper, relative to other expenditures. Analysis of the last 40 years shows that alcohol has become cheaper by 30% relative to other costs. Consumer prices have decreased 38% for wine,  33% for liquor, and 26% for beer.

There are various areas of improvement for German alcohol policy. Starting with the World Health Organization’s recommended best buys, the German government can explore policy solutions such as increasing taxes, increasing the dangerously low legal minimum age, improving other alcohol availability rules and modernizing marketing regulations, for example through banning alcohol advertising.

These alcohol policy solutions are real catalysts for better and health and well-being and they can ensure the highest priorities of German citizens, health and family, are protected.

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