1 in 5 obese adults satisfied with body weight

Almost half of the total Dutch adult population are moderately or severely overweight. In the period 2015-2017, two in five severely overweight (obese) people indicated that they were dissatisfied with their body weight, while one in five said that they were satisfied. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of the latest figures.

Body satisfaction, 2015/2017 (% of persons aged 18 yrs or older)
 DissatisfiedNeither satisfied nor dissatisfiedSatisfied
Normal weight3.812.283.9
Moderate overweight14.233.352.4
Severe overweight40.737.621.8

Between 2015 and 2017, 65 percent of the Dutch population aged 18 years and over responded that they were satisfied with their body weight. Over half of those who were moderately overweight said that they were satisfied with their weight, against 14 percent who were dissatisfied. This percentage was 4 percent among people with a normal body weight.

The degree of overweight is measured using the body mass index (BMI), defined as a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres. Adults are considered moderately overweight if they have a BMI between 25 and 29, and severely overweight or obese if they score 30 or higher.

Growing number of people with severe overweight

In 2017, 49 percent of the Dutch adult population were overweight. This was still 32 percent in 1981. In this period, the percentage share of severely overweight people has almost tripled from 5 to 14 percent.

Last year, 52 percent of male adults were overweight, against 45 percent of female adults. However, relatively more women than men have obesity. In 2017, 15 percent of the women were severely overweight versus 13 percent of the men.

Persons by body weight, 2017 (% of persons aged 18 yrs or older)
 UnderweightNormal weightModerate overweightSevere overweight (obesity)

Relatively more men satisfied with body weight

Of all adults, seven in ten men are satisfied with their weight as opposed to six in ten women. In the category ‘moderately overweight’, six in ten men are happy with their weight against four in ten women.

Among men with obesity, 27 percent are satisfied with their weight. Body satisfaction among obese women is lower, at around 18 percent.

Body satisfaction, 2015/20171 (% of persons aged 18 yrs or older)
 DissatisfiedNeither satisfied nor dissatisfiedSatisfied
Normal weight
Moderate overweight
Severe overweight
1Figures on underweight people are not included.