Gambling addiction and obesity: pediatricians warn of renewed school closures

Given the rising Corona infection figures, the Professional Association of Pediatricians and Adolescents (BVKJ) calls for the immediate introduction of compulsory vaccination for adults. Renewed school closures could lead to many psychosocial disorders such as gambling addiction, obesity, and learning deficits. Therefore, they must be prevented at all costs, the BVKJ said in a press release on Sunday.

Gambling addiction and obesity

The German Society for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ) president, Prof. Dr. med. Jörg Dötsch, also pleaded for school operations to be maintained during the entire fourth wave. Dr. Dötsch justified his demand with the fact that infections of children and adolescents usually do not occur in schools, but in the family environment.

The BVKJ and DGKJ's demand followed decisions by the German states of Bavaria, Saxony, Saarland, Hamburg, and Schleswig-Holstein to impose further restrictions on public life. The 2G rule already applies in large parts of Germany.

Compulsory vaccination for adults

The introduction of compulsory vaccination for adults would pave the way for a return to normality. In particular, the basic rights of children could be restored in this way, according to the BVKJ. These include the right to education and normal life.

BVKJ President Dr. Thomas Fischbach stated:

“Children and adolescents have made the greatest sacrifices since the beginning of the pandemic, although they are less likely to occupy intensive care units and often do not even need medical care when infected with the Coronavirus”.

In this context, Dr. Fischbach also criticized the cap on the BioNTech vaccine decided by the Ministry of Health. This, he said, is the vaccine recommended by the Standing Commission on Vaccination (STIKO) exclusively for children and adolescents.

In addition, BioNTech enjoys the greatest trust among the population. Many people could therefore not be vaccinated. However, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said on Sunday in the ZDF program "Berlin Direkt" that demand had increased significantly in the last two weeks and that BioNTech stocks were empty. This had not been communicated, Spahn said.

Gambling addiction and obesity

Severe consequences of lockdown measures for children and adolescents

Children and adolescents have suffered more from recent lockdown measures than other populations, Dr. Fischbach explained. Many had developed psychosocial damage such as obesity and gambling addiction. In addition, he said, there had been learning delays. This particularly affected children from socially disadvantaged families, he said. Read our new review to stay in touch with gambling news

Sharp rise in media and gaming addiction

The German Center for Addiction Issues in Childhood and Adolescence (DZSKJ) commissioned a study on behalf of the DAK health insurance fund. This found that children and adolescents' pathological use of digital games has increased by 51.8% from an estimated 144,000 to 219,000 since 2019. When it came to using social media platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram, the number had risen from 171,000 to 246,000.

Although schools are currently back in session, the amount of time spent using digital games and social media is still well above pre-crisis levels, explained Rainer Thomasius, head of the DAK study from the DZSKJ at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).

Dr. Fischbach summed up that the lockdowns had been a significant health risk factor, especially for children and adolescents with already risky media use beforehand.

This had virtually catalyzed the transition to pathological use. Dr. Fischbach was concerned that this tendency would not be completely reversed even after the end of the pandemic.