Berlin - A quarter of century after reunification, there are still great differences between East and West. In the east, more people are unemployed, the population is shrinking with the exception of Berlin and Brandenburg, fewer people with migration background live there, there is less voluntary civic engagement, significantly more people vote for the left and no East German football club plays in the Bundesliga. The study "" that das presented today comes to these findings. “The result amazed us,” said Reiner Klingholz, head of the Berlin Institute.
The health of East Germans has improved significantly since the fall of the Wall. Newborns in the East can now expect around six more years of life than those born shortly before 1989. In the 1970s in particular, people in the GDR lived in much more unhealthy way: They drank more alcohol than West Germans and the men smoked more. High blood pressure and obesity were much more widespread than in the West.
Significantly more cardiovascular diseases in the former GDR "This also has to do with the different health systems: the treatment of Cardiovascular diseases, from which older people mainly benefit, were of secondary importance in the GDR, ”explained Klingholz. The focus was on maintaining the labor force of the working population. According to the study at the beginning of the 1990s, mortality from cardiovascular diseases was one and half times higher for both sexes than in the West, where modern medicine made significant contribution to reducing it.
Today obesity, which is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, is still more common in the east than in the west. However, the values are converging because the proportion of sick people in the West has increased more sharply since the fall of the Wall. Although life expectancy has largely adjusted, the five eastern German federal states had the highest heart attack mortality in 2012, led by Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt. Socio-economic factors such as unemployment and lower education are partly responsible for heart disease. Both risk factors are more pronounced in the East - the latter also due to the emigration of educated young people to the more job-rich West.
Alcohol-related deaths in the East are becoming much more frequent In the year of reunification were in the former GDR recorded significantly more alcohol-related deaths than in West Germany. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, for example, three times as many people died as result of alcohol abuse in 1990 than the national average.This was mainly due to the fact that schnapps was the second most popular intoxicant in the GDR after beer. From 1950 to 1989 the consumption of high-proof spirits rose from 1.3 liters per inhabitant to over 15 liters. “In contrast to everything else, there was large selection of schnapps on the shelves and many of them brewed it themselves,” reported Klingholz. In the West, on the other hand, wine was much more popular than hard liquor.
Little has changed in consumption habits. As before, significantly more people in the eastern German federal states are dying from the consequences of current alcohol abuse and the consequences of earlier drinking. The number of alcohol-related traffic accidents is also higher in the east. “East Germans traditionally get behind the wheel of the wheel after being drunk,” said the head of the Berlin Institute.
In the West, more people are dying from illegal drugs There were and are significantly more deaths from illegal drugs there are, however, in West Germany and especially in the two largest city-states. In Berlin and Hamburg three times as many people die from the effects of hard drugs as the national average. In the GDR, illegal drugs played no role due to the stricter border controls. Today, synthetically produced drugs such as crystal meth are increasingly reaching Saxony, Thuringia and Bavaria from the Czech Republic.