Over the past three decades, the proportion of overweight people in the Netherlands has grown among adults as well as among 4 to 20-year-olds. The increase among adults is substantial; the obesity rate among adults has more than doubled. Half of men aged 40 or older are currently overweight.
Four in ten overweight
In 2009/2011, some 6.5 million people in the Netherlands had moderate or serious overweight, i.e. 41 percent versus 27 percent in the early 1980s. Ten percent (approximately 1.5 million) were obese in 2009/2011. The proportion of underweight people has always been small and is currently just over 2 percent.
Underweight, normal weight and overweight (population aged 4 years or older)
More children moderately overweight
Nearly 11 percent of children and young people in the age category 4–20 were moderately overweight in 2009/2011, as against about 7 percent in the 1980s. The obesity rate among children remained fairly stable over this period and is currently about 2.5 percent.
More than twice as many obese adults
Obesity among adults increased dramatically from more than 5 percent in the early 1980s to nearly 12 percent in 2009/2011. Moderate overweight among adults also increased, from 28 to 36 percent.
Moderate and serious overweight among children/young people and adults
Most overweight people are middle-aged or older
From the age of 20, the proportion of overweight people increases rapidly, especially among men. More than half of men over the age of 40 are overweight. Overweight among women appears to be a more gradual process. Overweight is less common in women than in men, but obesity is more common in older women than in older men.
Underweight is regularly found among children, young people and young adults (3 to 8 percent). Underweight is rare in over-30s.
Underweight, normal weight and overweight by age, 2009/2011
Inge de Groot and Jan-Willem Bruggink