More diabetics in obese population

© Hollandse Hoogte
In 2015 nearly 12 percent of the Dutch population were suffering from obesity. More than 17 percent of them reported they were also diagnosed with diabetes, versus more than 3 percent in the non-obese population, as the Health Survey published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) shows. In this survey, participants are requested to state whether or not they have diabetes and to provide data on body height and weight.

Just like unhealthy eating habits, smoking and lack of exercise, obesity (serious overweight) is a major risk factor for developing diabetes type 2. Considerably more obese than non-obese people report to be living with diabetes type 2: more than 13 percent versus nearly 3 percent.

Nearly 5 percent diabetics in Dutch population

Last year 4.8 percent in the Dutch population reported to have diabetes, versus 2.8 percent in 2001. The increase is almost entirely due to the rising share of diabetes type 2 patients. This type of diabetes is nearly four times as common as diabetes type 1. Diabetes type 2 is slightly more prevalent among men (more than 4 percent) than among women (more than 3 percent).

Diabetes type 2

Diabetes type 2 is more frequently found in older people, whereas type 1 also affects young people and incidence appears not to be age-related. Type 2 is primarily found among over-40s. The Health Survey shows that 1.8 percent of 40 to 49-year-olds are diagnosed with diabetes type 2, increasing to nearly 8 percent among 55 to 64-year-olds and to nearly 15 percent among people aged 75 years or older.

Diabetics by age, 2015
 Diabetics totalType 1Type 2
0-3 yrs000
4-11 yrs0.10.10
12-15 yrs0.20.20
16-19 yrs0.50.30.2
20-29 yrs0.50.20.3
30-39 yrs1.30.90.4
40-49 yrs2.811.8
50-54 yrs4.20.83.3
55-64 yrs9.71.87.9
65-74 yrs12.82.110.6
75 yrs or older17.52.214.7

Medicine intake

Registration data show that 4.7 percent in the Dutch population (800 thousand individuals) were prescribed anti-diabetic medicines in 2014, as against 3.8 percent in 2006. However, the number of GP-registered diabetic patients is higher: nearly 1.1 million in 2014. Possibly, not all patients take medicines to treat their diabetes.

Relatively few diabetics in the Netherlands

The percentage of reported diabetics is relatively low in the Netherlands compared to other European countries. The only countries where the share of diabetic patients aged 15 years or older is lower are Romania, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania. With 10 percent, France has the highest share.
With respect to obesity, the situation in the Netherlands is even more favourable. Serious overweight only occurs less frequently in Norway, Romania and Italy. Malta tops the European list; more than one-quarter of the Maltese population aged 15 years or older suffer from obesity.

Obesity and diabetes in various European countries, 2014