100 thousand adults with morbid obesity

© Hollandse Hoogte
One percent of the Dutch population aged 20 years or older are morbidly obese. This means that over 100 thousand adults suffer from this severe form of obesity. This is evident from new figures taken from the 2017 National Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The figures have been broken down into the three classes of obesity for the first time. In 2017, 14 percent in total had any form of obesity. This is over 2.5 times more than in the early 1980s.

 Class 1 obesityClass 2 obesityClass 3 obesity (morbid obesity)
19814.50.50.4
19824.10.60.4
19834.10.60.4
19844.70.40.4
19854.40.60.3
19864.30.50.4
19874.80.50.2
19884.20.60.1
19895.410.2
19905.30.80.2
199150.80.2
19925.410.3
19935.30.80.3
19946.10.90.3
19955.910.4
199660.90.3
19976.91.20.3
199871.30.3
19997.21.50.4
20007.81.50.4
20017.81.50.5
20028.21.50.5
200391.60.5
20049.11.70.7
20059.11.60.6
20069.12.10.6
200792.20.6
20088.92.10.6
20099.52.20.6
20108.91.90.8
201191.90.7
20129.22.20.8
20139.21.90.7
201410.52.40.7
201510.82.20.6
201611.42.40.7
2017112.30.9

An additional 36 percent are moderately overweight. Added together, this means 50 percent of the Dutch population aged 20 years or older are overweight or obese versus 33 percent at the beginning of the 1980s. Half of this increase is on account of obesity.

As of 1981, data on height and weight are collected from the Dutch population through annual surveys. The most widely used measure for any type of overweight is the body mass index or BMI, defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres (kg/m2). Adults with a BMI of 25 or higher are overweight; a BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity. Obesity can be broken down into three classes, with the following ranges: BMI 30.0 to 34.9 (class 1), BMI 35.0 to 39.9 (class 2) and BMI 40.0 or higher (class 3). Class 3 indicates morbid obesity.

Mildest form of obesity shows largest increase

Of the three classes of obesity, class 1 is most prevalent. Since the early 1980s, the share of people with the mildest form of obesity has seen the largest increase, namely from 4 to 11 percent. The number of cases with classes 2 and 3 obesity has also risen; these classes were still rare in the early 1980s.

Women more likely to be obese

Women are more likely to suffer from obesity than men. This is the case in each of the three obesity classes. In the Dutch population aged 65 to 74 years, 20 percent are obese. This is the highest share among all age categories.

 Class 1 obesityClass 2 obesityClass 3 obesity (morbid obesity)
Men10.21.70.8
Women11.731
20 to 29 yrs5.20.90.6
30 to 39 yrs8.91.61.3
40 to 49 yrs11.72.50.7
50 to 54 yrs12.43.70.6
55 to 64 yrs13.42.81.3
65 to 74 yrs15.23.80.9
75 yrs or older11.21.50.9

Lower obesity rate in the Netherlands than in most EU countries

A small majority (53 percent) of European adults are overweight, as shown by the most recent EU figures from 2014. On average, 36 percent of Europeans aged 18 and over were moderately overweight and 17 percent obese; in the Netherlands, the obesity rate stood at 13 percent that year. Only Italy and Romania had lower shares. Of the neighbouring countries, the prevalence of obesity is highest in the United Kingdom, followed by Germany.

 Obesity rate
Malta26
Latvia21
Hungary21
Estonia20
United Kingdom20
Czech Republic19
Slovenia19
Croatia19
Ireland19
Finland18
Greece17
Lithuania17
Poland17
Germany17
EU-2817
Spain17
Portugal17
Slovakia16
Luxembourg16
France15
Denmark15
Bulgaria15
Austria15
Cyprus15
Belgium14
Sweden14
Netherlands13
Italy11
Romania9