Dutch population heavier

21/05/2002 10:00

According to surveys by Statistics Netherlands the number of overweight people in the Netherlands has increased in the last two decades. In the early eighties just over three in ten people aged twenty or older were too heavy. By 2000 this had risen to more than four in ten. Just under one in ten people are seriously overweight, nearly twice as many as in 1981.

Population overweight and seriously overweight

On average one centimetre shorter and one kilo heavier

New measurements show that on average people tend to slightly overestimate their height but underestimate their weight. For example, in 1999-2000 the average height reported by respondents was 1.74 metres, while when they were actually measured, the average for this group was one centimetre shorter. In the same way, the average weight turned out not be 74.2 kilos but 75.3 kilos.

More men than women overweight

More men than women are overweight. According to the measurements carried out by the medical examiners 56 percent of men and 43 percent of women are too heavy.

Among men, a fairly constant percentage of respondents over the age groups underestimate their weight. Women on the other hand tend to underestimate more from the age fifty onwards.

Overweight men by age, 1999-2000

Overweight women by age

Seriously overweight men more likely to underestimate

More women than men are seriously overweight. The highest discrepancy between the subjective and the objective percentages is for men between ages 55 and 65 years. For women this peak is less conspicuous; the underestimation in the health survey is equal for all ages.

Ferdy Otten