The DOSB held a meeting on health to better improve German policy ©DOSB

The German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has staged a major meeting with around 200 invited guests to shape policy on health with the support of the German Sports Youth and the Conference of Sports Ministers.

Yesterday’s gathering, which saw figures from sport, politics, health, youth, work and business attend, centred its discussion on how to improve physical exercise following the detrimental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Torsten Burmester, the chief executive of the DOSB, called on all levels of governance to bare responsibility for promoting health and exercise.

"The key question of tonight is: What can we do against the increasing lack of exercise?" Burmester said.

"And by that I don’t just mean us as organised sport, but all stakeholders: politicians at all federal levels, health insurance companies, health care associations and other areas of society."

Among the politicians to attend were Lisa Paus, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), Sabine Dittmar, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Minister for Health, and Dr Rolf Schmachtenberg, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Greater funding from the BMFSFJ and the MOVE exercise campaign was referred to as positive steps to help children and young people recover from the pandemic.

Nevertheless, a panel agreed that German politics needs to rethink its attitude towards promoting health and exercise, with DOSB vice-president Kerstin Holze warning of the adverse effects a lack of sport could have on a young population.

German politics was called on to do more to improve sport, exercise and health in the country at the meeting ©Getty Images
German politics was called on to do more to improve sport, exercise and health in the country at the meeting ©Getty Images

"If we don't get moving now and create a sporting trend reversal for our children and young people, we run the risk of raising a generation that has never learned that sport is an integral part of their everyday life," Holze remarked.

"Whether in school sports or in a club, health means above all more exercise and active sports as an important building block for the physical and mental wellbeing of each individual.

"It's like learning a language.

"The earlier you learn a foreign language, the easier it is.

"It's the same with motor skills. If children don't develop a sense of rhythm at a young age or learn complex movement sequences such as swimming, gymnastics or the basics of athletics, it will be much more difficult to catch up later.

"For this reason, too, the common goal of organised sport and politics must be to make sporting opportunities accessible to everyone.

"Sport is a cross-cutting issue and should definitely find its way into political action across all ministries."