More children are overweight, but most say they are in good health
The overwhelming majority of Dutch children and young adults consider their health to be good or very good, and little has changed in that respect for several years.
However, the number of youngsters considered to be overweight has gone up from 16% to 18%, national statistics agency CBS said in its latest health and lifestyle review, which was published on Friday.
Young adults are most likely to be overweight – one in four now weigh more than considered to be healthy, the survey found.
Some 93% of teenagers describe their health as good or very good, but this goes down to 83% among those who are considered to be overweight. The picture is similar for young adults.
The Netherlands has been struggling to deal with a growing obesity problem – in 1990, just 6% of the population was considered to be obese.
Experts say the government is ignoring opportunities to encourage people to make healthy food choices and could make a start by banning all advertising for food targeting children which does not fit into health eating plans.
Other options would include cutting or scrapping value added tax on fruit and veg, introducing a tax on sugar or banning fast food restaurants from setting up near schools, researchers say.
Earlier this year, public health advisory body RVS said greater efforts should be made to end the continuing health divide in the Netherlands by promoting healthy eating and tackling the societal problems which support it.
And a critical Unicef report out in September last year concluded that most of the food aimed at children was too high in sugar, salt and fats.
‘The fact that three quarters of the products do not comply with the recommended diet is shocking,’ Unicef NL director Suzanna Laszlo told the AD. ‘Many children eat too much of what they don’t need and too little of what they do need. That can cause obesity and diabetes.’
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