Quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds overweight

An overweight woman dressed in summer clothes rests on the stairs outside
© Shutterstock / Motortion Films
In 2022, 17 percent of all children and young people in the Netherlands aged 2 to 24 years were overweight. Young adults (18 to 24 years) in particular are likely to be too heavy. A quarter of these adults were overweight, with 7 percent being severely overweight (obese). Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this in the National Youth Monitor upon the release of new figures from the 2022 National Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor, conducted in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

The proportion of overweight children and young people has increased. In 2014, 15 percent of 2 to 24-year-olds were overweight. The increase is mainly seen among 18 to 24-year-olds: from 21 percent in 2014 to 25 percent in 2022. The share of obese young people has remained the same since 2014.

Developments in overweight among young people
jaarTotal (%)2-11 yrs (%)12-17 yrs (%)18-24 yrs (%)
Source: CBS, Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor

Young people of non-European origin more likely to be overweight

Young people of Dutch origin are least likely to be overweight (15 percent). At 24 percent, overweight is most prevalent among young people with origins outside Europe. Boys and girls are more or less equally likely to be overweight.

Overweight among young people (2-24 yrs), 2022
categorie  Overweight (%)Obesity (%)
Age11-17 yrs14.62.5
Age18-24 yrs25.46.7
the Netherlands)
OriginOutside Europe24.36.4
Source: CBS, Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor

In addition to the person’s age, the education level of the parents and whether they are too heavy themselves play a role in (severe) overweight among young people. For example, in 2018/2021 obesity was three times more likely to occur among 2 to 11-year-olds with parents who at most have a VMBO qualification than among children whose parents have completed HBO or university education. (Severe) overweight is also more common among children with at least one obese parent.

Overweight young people less likely to meet physical activity guidelines

Nearly half of young people aged 4 to 24 years comply with the standards for physical activity as set by the Health Council of the Netherlands. Children aged 4 to 11 years are more likely to meet the guidelines than young people aged 12 to 17 years (57 versus 33 percent). Among 18 to 24-year-olds, the share is 51 percent.

Young people who are (severely) overweight are less likely to meet the physical activity guidelines: 44 percent of those who are overweight comply with these standards and 40 percent of those with obesity. Overweight 12 to 17-year-olds are least likely to meet the guidelines (29 percent).

Compliance with physical activity guidelines (4 to 24-year-olds), 2022
categorieComply with physical activity guidelines (%)
No overweight49.5
Source: CBS, Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor