In recent years, the Dutch have adopted a more healthy lifestyle. The percentage of smokers and heavy drinkers has marginally declined. An increasing number of people in the Netherlands exercise enough and the number of moderately overweight adults is no longer increasing, but there is still an upward trend in obese people, according to the latest figures released by Statistics Netherlands.
Last year, 31 percent of Dutch men in the age category 12 years and older smoked, as against 25 percent of women. The downward trend which could be observed in the male population prior to 2004 appears to gain ground again, but the percentage of smoking women remained stable over the past three years. The amount of heavy smokers has dwindled among both genders in recent years. Another positive aspect is that a large proportion of young people have never smoked: in the 12–24 age bracket, people who never touched a cigarette in their lives grew from 58 to 66 percent between 2001 and 2007.
Slightly downward trend among heavy drinkers
The proportion of heavy drinkers aged 12 years or older fell from nearly 14 percent in 2001 to nearly 11 percent in 2007. With 18 percent, excessive drinking among men is more than four times as high as among women (4 percent). One in five are teetotallers.
More Dutch do enough exercise
The percentage of people from the age of 12 complying with the Dutch Standard for Healthy Exercise had increased marginally last year relative to 2006. Since 2001, the proportion of people who do enough exercise has gradually grown from 52 to 56 percent. This applies to both men and women.
Moderate overweight no longer increasing
Nearly 35 percent of Dutch adults were moderately overweight in 2007. Until 2002, the number of moderate overweight people increased annually, but it has remained stable in recent years. In 2007, more than 40 percent of men and nearly 30 percent of women were moderately overweight.
Over a longer period, the amount of Dutch adults with excessive overweight has continued to grow. In 2007, more than 11 percent of adults had to cope with obesity, more than twice as many as twenty years ago. Obesity is more frequent among women (12 percent) than among men (10 percent).