The Netherlands as a heavy-weight nation

22/12/2003 10:00

The number of adults who weigh (far) too much continues to increase. In 2002 the number of seriously overweight people was twice that of 1981. Part of the population faces both overweight and other health risk factors.

(Serious) overweight, 1981–2002

(Serious) overweight, 1981–2002

Twice the number of seriously overweight people

In the early eighties 33 in 100 adults were overweight. By 2002 their number had reached 45 in 100 adults. At the same time the percentage of seriously overweight adults increased from 5 to 10 percent. This increase was observed mainly since the early nineties.

More overweight men

There are more men than women with weight problems. In 2002 five in ten men were overweight versus four in ten women. Moreover, the number of overweight men has been increasing faster since 1981 than the number of overweight women. Serious overweight on the other hand is more a women’s problem.

(Serious) overweight by age, 2002

(Serious) overweight by age, 2002

Overweight in old and young people

Older people often have problems with their weight. Six in ten older people (55–74-year olds) weigh too much, and almost two in ten older people weigh far too much.

Many young people are also facing weight problems. Two in ten people aged 20–24 are overweight. In the 25–34 age bracket this number has already doubled.

Overweight and diabetes

Diabetes occurs more than twice as often in people who are too heavy than in people with a normal weight. It occurs four times as often in seriously overweight people.

Overweight and diabetes 2001/2002

Overweight and diabetes 2001/2002

Stacked risks

Risk factors often come in combination. The combination of being overweight and insufficient exercise is found in one in five adults. Over one in ten overweight people smoke. Over one in twenty overweight adults drinks heavily. Almost seven percent of all adults is overweight, does not exercise enough and smokes. In all these cases the figures for men are worse than for women.

Combinations of risk factors and being overweight, 2001/2002

Combinations of risk factors and being overweight, 2001/2002

Ferdy Otten and Frans Frenken

Source: Statine (Dutch only)