Almost one in four Dutch children aged 10 to 12 are overweight and 6% are obese, according to a pan-European study by researchers at the VU teaching hospital.
Compared with their peers in six other European countries, Dutch pre-teens consume much more fizzy drinks and sugary cordials – 0.6 litre a day on average, the researchers found.
Greek children were the most likely to be overweight – 50% were described as too heavy.
Cycle to school
All children watched similar amounts of television but the Dutch and Norwegians were the only ones likely to cycle to school, the research showed.
There are clear differences in cultural traditions, family habits and eating patterns across the EU, said research leader Johannes Brug. This means regional or country-specific policies are needed to help curb the ‘overweight epidemic in European schoolchildren’.
The report also sounded a note of caution about the Dutch results because of the low response rate from schools.
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