Underweight, normal weight and overweight

The figures presented in this article are based on the Health Survey conducted by Statistics Netherlands. Respondents are invited to report their body height and weight. On the basis of these data, respondents can be categorised as underweight, normal weight or overweight. This is done by means of the so-called Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is defined as a person’s body mass expressed in kilograms divided by the square of their height expressed in metres [kg/m²]. The BMI is generally accepted as a valid measure for underweight and overweight in adults aged 20 years or older.
The criteria are as follows:
• BMI < 18.5 kg/m² is underweight
• BMI 18.5 kg/m² to 25.0 kg/m² is normal weight
• BMI >= 25.0 kg/m² is overweight
Within the category ‘overweight’ the following subcategories are distinguished:
• BMI 25.0 kg/m² to 30.0 kg/m² is moderate overweight
• BMI >= 30.0 kg/m² is obese.

As children and young people are still growing, underweight, normal weight and overweight cannot be defined properly as in the case of adults. The BMI for children is also gender-related. The margins for children and young people are age and gender-related.

The Health Survey is a survey conducted among private Dutch households. The figures presented in this article exclusively refer to people living in private households. The institutional population (people living in nursing homes or homes for the elderly) are not taken into account.
Data in the Health Survey referring to children under the age of 12 are reported by their parents/guardians.