“The concept of prevention is broad, it includes everything that was prevented in principle. The preventive measure is vaccinations, ”says Kurt Widhalm, who, as a pediatrician and president of the Academic Institute for Nutritional Medicine, has been working on prevention concepts for years.
The corona pandemic documents that Austria still has a lot of room for improvement in terms of vaccination readiness.
But other health care factors are also rather underexposed in this country. Obesity is one of them. According to Widhalm, being overweight is already responsible for seven out of ten diabetes diseases. “I recently treated an 11-year-old who weighed 138 kilograms. The mere fact that our health system has made it so that there are such young patients with such symptoms – from shortness of breath to joint problems – shows that we have to do more. “
Not enough money
The fact is: Compared to other OECD countries, Austria spends measurably little on prevention. Just one number: while the social security in this country invests an average of 98 euros per year and insured person in prevention work, in Germany it is 162, in Sweden even 185.
Was also doing? Widhalm suggests digging up a fallow resource. “We are the only country in Europe where doctors work permanently in schools and examine children – school doctors. However, this data is not networked or used. That is negligent. “
For Thomas Czypionka, health expert at the Institute for Advanced Studies, health insurances are particularly important. “The insured & active offers are made. At the moment, however, you almost have the feeling that the payers (the health insurers, note) are happy if you don’t have too much pension costs. “
Apart from the suffering that patients could be spared, the economic benefit has been proven. Widhalm: “Studies show that every euro spent on prevention saves six euros on medical treatments at the other end.”