Dutch people do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and fish

24/04/2015 15:00

The Dutch do not eat enough fruit, vegetables and fish. About a quarter of the population meets the doses recommended by the Dutch Health council. People with foreign backgrounds meet the standards more often than people with a Dutch background. Older people tend to eat more cauliflower, apples or herrings than young people. This is according to the figures released today by Statistics Netherlands and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment based on data first collected in the 2014 Health Survey for the new Lifestyle Monitor.
A quarter of all people from the age of 4 onwards eat enough fruit according to the healthy nutrition guidelines, although women tend to eat more fruit than men (30 versus 22 percent). Children up to age 8 should eat 1.5 portions of fruit a day. For everyone over the age of 9 the recommended daily dose is two portions of fruit, such as pomegranate, apples, pears, tangerines or bananas.

Percentage of the Dutch population meeting the daily recommended dose for fruit, vegetables and fish, by sex, 2014

Men eat as many vegetables as women

Over a quarter of the Dutch population eat enough vegetables every day. There is no difference between men and women in this regard. The recommendation for children aged 4 to 8 is to eat 100 grams of vegetables a day. For 9 to 13-year olds and people over 71 the recommended dose is 150 grams, while for 14 to 70 year-olds it is 200 grams.
The recommendation to eat fish at least twice a week, of which at least once fatty fish such as salmon, herring of mackerel, is followed by a mere 14 percent of the population.

Percentage of the Dutch population meeting the recommended dose for fruit, vegetables and fish, by age, 2014

Fruit not terribly popular with young people

Eating fruit, vegetables and fish does not seem to be very popular with young people. With three out of ten children of primary school age eating enough fruit, their intake is downright substandard. Fruit is even less popular among the 12 to 16 year-olds, as just 14 percent turn out to meet the recommended dose. As people grow older, fruit consumption increases again: 45 percent of the over 75 year-olds eat enough fruit.
A similar age pattern was found for vegetable consumption. Just three out of ten 4 to 12 year-olds eat enough vegetables every day, while two out of ten 16 to 20 year-olds meet the daily recommended dosis. Over four out of ten 75 year-olds eat enough vegetables.
The percentage of people who eat enough fish also has an age component. Barely 6 percent of the 12 to 16 year-olds meet the recommended dose whereas 23 percent of the people aged between 65 and 75 eat fish twice a week with at least one meal including fatty fish.

Percentage of the Dutch population meeting the recommanded dose for fruit, vegetables and fish, by education level, 2014

Vegetables and fish more popular among highly educated people

The are few differences in the recommended fruit consumption between highly and less well educated people in the Netherlands. However, highly educated people meet the fish and vegetable recommendations more often than less well educated people. And the gap is widening.

Higher vegetable, fruit and fish consumption by non-native than native Dutch people

People with a western or non-western foreign background live up to the recommendations for vegetables and fish better than the native Dutch population. With a recommended daily dose of 200 grams of vegetables, 36 percent of the western, over 30 percent of the non-western and over a quarter of the native Dutch population meet the standard.
Fruit eating habits are also substandard in the Netherlands, although the two fruits a day standard is met by 30 percent of the western, 26 percent of the non-western and 25 percent of the native Dutch population.
The ‘fishing quota’ are under very heavy pressure. Residents with a non-western background are the most frequent twice-a-week fish eaters with 19 percent, versus 17 percent of the western and a mere 13 percent of the native Dutch population.

Percentage of the Dutch population meeting the recommended dose for fruit, vegetables, and fish, by origin, 2014