Child health in transition

The health situation of children has changed over the past decades. Even at a very young age, children have different health problems than they did 40 years ago, because the classic childhood illnesses such as mumps or chickenpox are largely controllable thanks to medical advances and as a result of vaccinations. On the other hand, an increase in chronic diseases can be observed.

An increase in allergies and obesity, which often leads to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, is clearly visible. Added to this are psychological stresses, limitations in gross and fine motor skills and behavioral problems. The corona pandemic has exacerbated this negative development - it is very often a consequence of progressive physical inactivity. In every third family, physical activity plays no role and physical activity in childhood is significantly decreasing compared to previous decades.


  • Over 30% of children suffer from sleep disorders
  • The motor skills of today's children are 10% worse than 40 years ago
  • Concentration disorders/behavioral problems
  • One child in 10 in Germany shows symptoms of anxiety, one in every 20 symptoms of a depressive disorder
  • Overweight/diabetes
  • Increase in orthopedic diseases (feet)
  • Eye problems (early corrections)

Over half of the children our groups in Kinderheilwald could not walk safely on a balance beam.

Causes are above all

  • The increasing stress in childhood
  • Environmental hazards
  • The desired digitisation of everyday school life
  • the increasing media consumption in leisure time - lack of exercise (sitting around)
  • Display consumption and sensory overload
  • Disappearance of natural spaces in which children can move freely with others
  • Increase in allergies

In evaluation of these health trends, the project "First Children's Healing Forest in Europe" was developed, combined with financial support from the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Osteebad Heringsdorf municipal authority ... "is providing a hitherto unusual and valuable offer for children's health"

Prof. Dr. Dr. Klinkmann

This pilot project makes the forest a year-round health "all-round package" for our children. Prof. Dr. Karin Kraft defines the goals and indications in her medical concept for the Children's Healing Forest:

  • Promotion and development of movement components, as well as development of motor and coordination skills
  • Development and promotion of mental abilities (in relation to psychosomatic illnesses, fears, depression)
  • Weight reduction (obese children)
  • Promotion and development of concentration, attentiveness and memory
  • Respiratory tract disorders
  • Strengthening of eye muscles
  • Interaction within the group/creativity

Five functional areas with a total of 13 therapy or exercise stations divide the children's healing forest into zones of different physical and mental activities. Functional areas tailored to the health deficiency areas are intended to actively address all senses in a playful way and thus enable a holistic healing self-acting forest experience, supported by forest mindfulness training.

more about ...
the children's healing forest stations | the exercise stations

The Heringsdorf Children's Healing Forest is easily accessible via the path structure of the healing forest. With its geographically favourable location near the sea, the high air quality and its varied nature, it offers an ideal environment for health promotion.
It was opened on 29 September 2021 - World Children's Day. Prominent guests included Manuela Schwesig (Minister President of M-V), Prof. Horst Klinkmann (co-founder of the healing forest project) and Dr. Till Backhaus (Minister of Agriculture of M-V).