More youngsters are too heavy, but obesity rate is unchanged


Some 17% of the under-25s in the Netherlands were too heavy last year, with young adults, in particular, likely to be overweight, according to new figures out on Thursday.

In total 25% of youngsters aged 18 to 25 were too heavy, and 7% of them were obese, the figures, from the 2022 national health and lifestyle monitor showed. 

Overall, the percentage of children and young adults who weigh too much is up by two percentage points on eight years ago, but there has been no increase in the proportion suffering from obesity. 

Youngsters with roots outside the Netherlands are most likely to be too heavy but there is no difference between girls and boys, the CBS said. Children from families where the parents are manual workers are heavier than those with a university education.

The figures also show that almost half of all youngsters do meet official guidelines on exercise, but the under 13s are more likely to do so than young adults.

The government recommends children aged four to 17 should do at least an hour of moderate-intensity exercise every day and do muscle and bone-strengthening activities at least three times a week.

The government has launched various initiatives to try to reduce the number of overweight children. However, 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.

Plans to scrap the tax on fruit and veg have floundered because of the difficulty in defining what counts as a vegetable. However, the government does plan to increase the tax on soft drinks in 2024.

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