Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

Telephone Health Survey - German Health Update
Telefonische Gesundheitssurveys – Gesundheit in Deutschland aktuell (GEDA)

Health and Performance
Relevance for this Topic
Country Germany
More Topics


Contact information

Cornelia Lange
Robert Koch-Institut; Fachgebiet 21 - Epidemiologisches Datenzentrum, Biometrie
Postfach 650261
13302 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0)30- 18107543326
Fax: +49 (0)30-1810 754 3326
Email: geda(at)

Timeliness, transparency

The file for scientific use is available about 2 to 3 years after data collection.

Type of data


Type of Study

Cross-section, regular

Data gathering method

Telephone interview (CATI)

Access to data

Available for scientific, non-profit use

Conditions of access

It is required to sign a data distribution contract prior to obtaining the data. 90 Euros are charged for each data.

1-2 weeks

anonymised microdata


Documentation (in parts) is available in German and English, while variables and value labels are available in German only. The homepage with all basic information (data access, etc.) is available in English as well. For GSTel03 and GEDA09 a questionnaire translation is available via


Wave 1: Data for GesTel03 was collected in 2003 and had a sample size of 8,318. Wave 2: Data for GesTel04 was collected in 2004 and had a sample size of 7,341. Wave 3: Data for GesTel05 was collected in 2005 and had a sample size of 4,401. Wave 4: Data for GesTel06 was collected in 2006 and had a sample size of 5,600. Wave 5: Data for GEDA09 was collected in 2009 and had a sample size of 21,262. Wave 6: Data for GEDA10 was collected in 2010 and had a sample size of 22,050. Wave 7: Data for GEDA12 was collected in 2012 and had a sample size of approximately 26,000.



Random sample

national, regions

18+ (depending on cross-sectional sample, e.g. GEDA10 18-99 years)

In addition to a regular module, each cross-sectional survey addresses specific policy-relevant topics which change for each assessment. The surveys regularly cover: subjective health, health-related behaviour, e.g. physical exercise, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, chronic diseases, injuries, health consequences and disabilities, health-related support and stress, mental health, socio-demographic characteristics such as age, gender, education, occupational status, migration background. The selection of the regular health module follows the European Health Survey (EHS). As specific topics, gastrointestinal diseases, organ donation and the extent to which interviewees make use of healthcare services were assessed in GEDA09. GEDA10 asked questions about injuries and the use of cancer screening. Measles and measles vaccination, care of family members and noise pollution were assessed in GEDA12. The public use file includes around 400 variables for the GEDA09 and GEDA10, the public use file for the GSTel03 includes 199 variables. The GSTel03, GSTel04, GSTel05, GSTel06 included more survey-specific questions, but included some basic information, which is comparable to the GEDA surveys since 2009.

• Kraywinkel K, Bertz J, Laudi A, Wolf U. Epidemiologie und Früherkennung häufiger Krebserkrankungen in Deutschland. Hrsg. Robert Koch-Institut Berlin,GBE kompakt 3(4) (2012) (Stand: 06.08.2012) • Kurth, B. M., Lange, C., Kamtsiuris, P., & Hölling, H. Gesundheitsmonitoring am Robert Koch-Institut. Bundesgesundheitsblatt-Gesundheitsforschung-Gesundheitsschutz, 52(5) (2009): 557-570. • Robert Koch-Institut. Erster telefonischer Gesundheitssurvey des Robert Koch-Instituts – Methodische Beiträge. Beiträge zur Gesundheits¬berichterstattung des Bundes. Eigenverlag, Berlin, 2005. • Robert Koch-Institut. Gesundheit in Deutschland aktuell: Feldbeginn des telefonischen Gesundheitssurveys 2008/2009 am RKI. Epid Bull 37 (2008):315–317. • Varnaccia, G., Rommel, A., & Saß, A. C. Das Unfallgeschehen bei Erwachsenen in Deutschland. In Gesundheitsberichterstattung-Hefte-(GBE-Hefte). Robert Koch-Institut.


Majority of instruments are standardised questions, scales, test and measurements. The measuring standards of the Robert Koch Institute comply with European and international recommendations.


Data quality

Raw data is cleaned by project organisers and checked for inconsistencies.

The GSTel and the GEDA are both telephone surveys, but they are different projects. The GEDA surveys serve the same purpose as the GSTel surveys (2003-2006). However, they are planned differently and are more comprehensive than the telephone surveys between 2003 and 2006. Financing is already granted for the GEDA14. It is planned that a multi-modal assessment in the upcoming surveys will be used (combination of telephone and internet questionnaires). There are no public use files available for the GSTel04, GSTel05, GSTel06.

Although they strived for consistency, there are some differences between GSTel and GEDA.


The GEDA surveys are a part of health monitoring by the Robert Koch Institute. The surveys cover basic health information at each assessment, which are complemented by specific policy-relevant topics (such as attitudes towards organ donation) that are changing. Therefore, one of the strengths of the GEDA surveys is that they enable the government to respond quickly and flexibly in the field of health policy because data is collected rapidly. The regular cross-sectional samples allow health trends to be analysed over time. Furthermore, the basic health module that is collected in each survey follows the European Health Survey, which allows for comparison in health trends with other European countries. Due to the large number of individuals taking part each year, the GEDA provides reliable and valuable data on health in Germany. As this survey is supposed to be representative for the residential population over the age of 18 in Germany, there is no specific focus on people aged 50 years and older, and the health questions do not cover all important aspects of health in old age. Because of the cross-sectional sampling, it is not possible to analyse individual health changes and underlying mechanisms. Another weakness of the GEDA survey is that they cannot be used for specific analysis focusing on foreigners or people with migration backgrounds as they are underrepresented in the survey.

  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Andreas Motel-Klingebiel
  • (see Partners)