Slightly fewer adult smokers

© CBS / Nikki van Toorn
In 2018, 22.4 percent of the Dutch adult population indicated they were occasional smokers. 8.2 percent were excessive drinkers based on their self-reported alcohol consumption and 50.2 percent were overweight. The share of overweight people has not changed compared to 2014, while that of smokers and excessive drinkers has declined. These are the results of the 2018 National Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor, which Statistics Netherlands (CBS) conducted in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction (Trimbos Institute).

In 2018, smoking, excessive drinking and obesity rates were still well above the targets set in the National Prevention Agreement to be met by 2040. With this agreement, the Dutch government - together with more than 70 organisations in the Netherlands - aims to reduce smoking and excessive and heavy drinking among adults to 5 percent and the share of overweight people to 38 percent by the year 2040.

Over 1 in 5 adults are smokers

In 2018, 22.4 percent of the Dutch population aged 18 and over reported they were smokers; 71.6 percent on a daily basis. Of all adults, 44.2 percent indicated they had never smoked and 33.4 percent said they used to smoke. The share of adult smokers has declined in recent years.

 Share of smokers (% of persons aged 18 and over)
Target for 20405
Source: CBS, RIVM, Trimbos Institute

Nearly 1 in 10 adults are heavy drinkers

Last year, 9.0 percent of the Dutch population aged 18 years and over were heavy drinkers and 8.2 percent excessive drinkers. In this age group, 80.4 percent indicated they had consumed alcoholic beverages during the previous twelve months; 8.5 percent reported they had never consumed alcohol before.

The share of excessive drinkers dropped from 9.9 percent in 2014 to 8.2 percent in 2018, while that of heavy drinkers remained more or less the same. In terms of alcohol consumption among those aged 18 and up, the National Prevention Agreement aims to lower excessive and heavy drinking to 5 percent by 2040.

Alcohol consumption
 Heavy drinkers (% of persons aged 18 and over)Excessive drinkers (% of persons aged 18 and over)
Target for 204055
Source: CBS, RIVM, Trimbos Institute

Over half of adult population are overweight

In 2018, half of Dutch adults (50.2 percent) aged 18 and over were overweight and 15.0 percent were obese. The share of overweight adults was almost the same in 2014, while that of obese adults was slightly lower. Under the National Prevention Agreement, the maximum rate of overweight people is set at 38 percent and the maximum obesity rate at 7.1 percent among adults by the year 2040.

Last year, 11.7 percent of 4 to 17-year-olds were overweight and 2.7 percent were obese. This has not changed compared to 2014. By the year 2040, the Dutch government aims to reduce the overweight rate to 9.1 percent and the obesity rate to 2.3 percent among young people.

Overweight and obesity
 2014 (%)2015 (%)2016 (%)2017 (%)2018 (%)Target for 2040 (%)
Overweight (4 to 17 yrs)11.911.613.613.511.79.1
Obese (4 to 17 yrs)3.332.
Overweight (18 yrs and over)49.449.349.248.750.238
Obese (18 yrs and over)13.313.314.213.9157.1
Source: CBS, RIVM, Trimbos Institute