Healthy eating costs rise more sharply than junk food, says CBS

One in four people in the Netherlands is affected by a brain condition – study

The costs of healthier foods in the Netherlands have risen by an average 22% over the past 10 years, while 'unhealthy' foods are only 13% more expensive now than they were in 2007, according to a report by the national statistics office CBS. Sugar, sweets and ice cream were actually cheaper in 2017 than they were 10 years ago, the report said. Average food prices in shops increased in price by 18% between 2007 and 2017. That is one percentage point higher than the increase in all consumer goods and services in that period. The Dutch government's Voedingscentrum, which promotes healthy eating, divided the CBS's list of food products into healthy and unhealthy variants, and the CBS followed suit by working out new price index figures. The price of semi-skimmed and skimmed milk jumped by an average of almost 60% in the 10 years to 2017, one of the highest increases in the healthy food category. The cost of eggs went up by 37% and fresh fruit by 28% in the 10 years. Dried fruit and nuts were also relatively more expensive. Fresh vegetables were only 9% higher on average, the report said. The price of fruit and vegetables is influenced by the weather and good as well as bad harvests affect the price consumers ultimately pay. Healthier drinks also registered the highest price rise in the 10 years. Bottled water, coffee and tea were 30% more expensive in 2017, while the increase for less healthy drinks was 21% lower on average. However, prices of fizzy drinks and beer were relatively high. In 2016, 13% of consumer spending was on food and drink for household consumption, the equivalent of €6.50 a day.  More >

Half of Dutch women experience harassment

Dutch happy with sex lives, but most women have had unwanted contact More than half of women in the Netherlands have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact and nearly a quarter have experienced sexual abuse, according to new research. A survey by sexual health centre Rutgers found that 22% of women and 6% of men had been forced to take part in sex acts or done so against their will. The proportion who had been touched or kissed without their consent was 53% for women and 19% for men. The survey of 17,000 Dutch people also found that the majority were happy with their sex lives. Among 25 to 39-year-olds 85% had had sex with a partner in the last six months, as had the majority of people over 70 (51%). Women under 25 and men over 70 were the most likely to report sexual health problems such as pain and erectile dysfunction. Gay and bisexual men were three times more likely to have had non-consensual sex than heterosexual men, while 25% of gay men and 15% of women said they had been verbally abused because of their sexuality in the last year. The survey also found that around half of the population saw pornography as a normal aspect of their sex lives. Seven in 10 men and three in 10 women had watched porn in the last six months.  More >

'Ban sales of energy drinks too under-18s'

Call for energy drink ban amid concern about impact on teenagers’ health Doctors have called for under-18s to be banned from buying energy drinks amid concerns that they are damaging teenagers' health. The Dutch Association for Children's Health (NVK) said youngsters who drink up to six cans per day were increasingly ending up requiring emergency treatment. The high levels of sugar, caffeine and taurine in the drinks have been blamed for triggering or aggravating conditions such as jaundice, fatigue and epilepsy. 'When young people come to our clinics complaining of restlessness or heart arrythmia we look at all kinds of things and sometimes we have to put them through the wringer to identify the cause,' paediatrician Brita de Jong-Van Kempen told AD. 'But we are seeing that energy drinks are increasingly at the root of the problem.' The NVK says the sales of the drinks should be restricted to over-18s in the same way as cigarettes and alcohol. At present the cans carry an advisory label saying they are unsuitable for children and the national nutritional advice body Voedingscentrum has said teenagers should drink no more than one can per day. The organisation also called for research to be carried out into the effect of energy drinks. 'These aren't harmless soft drinks,' said De Jong-Van Kempen. 'A ban would make parents think and raise their awareness of the consequences. We can wait until we have a fatal incident or we can take measures so that we can investigate the consequences.' Meanwhile, a survey by the nutrition centre Voedingscentrum found that nearly two-thirds of parents (62%) wanted to see school and sports clubs canteens do more to promote healthy eating. Almost nine out of 10 (86%) said healthy food should be made cheaper, while 48% said healthy food outlets should be more prominent on the high street. However, 82% agreed that they were mainly responsible for educating children about healthy food. The public health ministry said it was not in favour of banning or restricting sales of energy drinks. A spokesman said the solution lay in interventions by parents, schools and sports clubs to reduce children's intake.  More >

Swallowing a cell battery can kill a child

Swallowing a cell battery can kill a child, doctors warn parents Doctors are warning parents to be extremely careful not to leave tiny flat button batteries lying around because of the risk that children could swallow them. Over the past few years at least 16 children have been seriously injured - two of whom died - after swallowing the batteries which are used in watches, hearing aids and on key chains. 'The acid inside the battery eats through a child's gullet in no time,' paediatrician Lissy de Ridder from the Erasmus university medical centre told the AD. The damage can lead to permanent problems with eating and breathing, the paper said. Parents who suspect their children may have swallowed a battery are urged to take them to a hospital accident and emergency department immediately. 'The first sign is a child who is reluctant to eat,' De Ridder said. 'If a child begins to spit blood, the damage will already be considerable.'   More >

Fewer people change health insurer

One in four people in the Netherlands is affected by a brain condition – study Over one million people changed health insurance company at the end of last year, but fewer made the switch than in previous years, according to figures from health insurance umbrella group ZN. In total 5.9% of policy holders moved to a different insurance package, down from 6.4% in 2016, ZN said. That is the lowest figure since 2011. The actual total may be higher. People have until the end of January to chose a new health insurance company if they have informed their old one that they are leaving. The main reasons for making the switch are high premiums, different healthcare needs, unhappiness about coverage and poor service, according to research by comparison website The government determines the make-up of the basic healthcare package but companies are free to compete on price, freedom of choice and supplementary insurance.  More >