More people feeling healthy in Q2 2020

© Hollandse Hoogte / Nederlandse Freelancers
In the second quarter of this year, 82 percent of the population were positive about their own health. This share was 78 percent in the same quarter of the three previous years. Furthermore, in Q2 2020 fewer people consulted a GP or specialist; the number of dental visits was reduced by nearly one-half. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on the latest (provisional) quarterly figures obtained from the National Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor.

Usually, CBS only publishes annual figures from this survey. However, the coronavirus crisis has resulted in the need for faster survey results on self-perceived health status, lifestyle and care use. This is why provisional quarterly figures on these topics are also being published. This will be followed by figures on Q3 and Q4 2020 as well as overall figures for 2020.
During the first quarter of 2020, a share of 80 percent reported they were in good or very good health, similar to one year previously (79 percent). This share was 82 percent in Q2 2020, against 78 percent one year previously. The share of people with mental health problems stood at 12 percent, the same as in 2019.

Self-perceived health good or excellent*
Jaar2017 (%)2018 (%)2019 (%)2020 (%)
*provisional figures

Care use declining

In Q2 2020, there was less frequent use of various health services compared to the same quarter in 2019. For example, in the four weeks before the survey, 11 percent had visited a dentist, against 20 percent one year previously. Furthermore, 23 percent consulted a GP in Q2 2020, down from 28 percent in Q2 2019. The share visiting a medical specialist declined from 18 to 12 percent. 

The decline in health care utilisation can be related to the fact that, on balance, fewer health and care services were being provided during the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis. As for oral care, this came to a virtual standstill in the first few weeks of Q2; general practitioners provided fewer services during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many hospital appointments and operations were either postponed or cancelled altogether.

Dental visits over the previous four weeks
Jaar2017 (%)2018 (%)2019 (%)2020 (%)
*provisional figures

No significant lifestyle changes in Q2 2020

There was less excessive alcohol consumption in Q2 2020 than one year previously. The same held true for Q1 2020. The percentage share of daily smokers was lower year-on-year as well in the second quarter. This fits in with the long-term trend of declining tobacco consumption. As for obesity trends, which are related to lifestyle factors such as dietary and exercise habits, no changes were observed.
This news release contains figures on the total population (in some instances over a certain age). It is possible that the changes were different from one age group to the other. Wherever the coronavirus or measures against coronavirus had an opposite effect in different age groups, these effects may have cancelled each other out, with no perceptible change in the overall figure as a result. More details may become available on this in future survey results.