• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Trends over time
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Area covered:National
References:2017 - EUROSTAT Database http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=ilc_hch10&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:18+
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1998-2002

Survey type:Measured
Age:20-59
Sample size:3691
Area covered:National
References:Visscher TLS, Viet AL, Kroesbergen HT and Seidell JC. (2006). Underreporting of BMI in adults and its effect on obesity prevalence estimations in the period 1998 to 2002. Obesity, 14(11): 2054 - 2063.
Notes:NB. More recent self report data available (2014). See overweight and obesity by age
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1993-1997

Survey type:Measured
Age:37-43
Sample size:4623
References:Visscher TLS, Kromhout D, Seidell J. Long term and recent time trends in the prevalence of obesity among Dutch men and women. IJO 2002;26:1218-24
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1987-1991

Survey type:Measured
Age:37-43
Sample size:7510
References:Visscher TLS, Kromhout D, Seidell J. Long term and recent time trends in the prevalence of obesity among Dutch men and women. IJO 2002;26:1218-24
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1976-1980

Survey type:Measured
Age:37-43
Sample size:17008
References:Visscher TLS, Kromhout D, Seidell J. Long term and recent time trends in the prevalence of obesity among Dutch men and women. IJO 2002;26:1218-24
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:10-12
Sample size:901
Area covered:National
References:Brug J, van Stralen MM, te Velde SJ, Chinapaw MJM, De Bourdeaudhuij I, et al. (2012) Differences in Weight Status and Energy-Balance Related Behaviors among Schoolchildren across Europe: The ENERGY-Project. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34742. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034742
Notes:IOTF International Cut off ENERGY
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:10-12
Sample size:901
Area covered:National
References:Brug J, van Stralen MM, te Velde SJ, Chinapaw MJM, De Bourdeaudhuij I, et al. (2012) Differences in Weight Status and Energy-Balance Related Behaviors among Schoolchildren across Europe: The ENERGY-Project. PLoS ONE 7(4): e34742. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034742
Notes:IOTF International Cut Off Point
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 2003

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-16
Sample size:90071
Area covered:National
References:van den Hurk K, van Buuren P, van Buuren S, Verkerk PH and HiraSing RA. (2007). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Netherlands in 2003 compared to 1980 and 1977. Archives Dis Child, 92: 992 - 995.
Notes:IOTF International Cut Off
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1997

Survey type:Measured
Age:4-16
Area covered:National
References:Katja van den Hurk, Paula van Dommelen, Stef van Buuren, Paul H Verkerk, Remy A HiraSing. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Netherlands in 2003 compared to 1980 and 1997. Arch Dis Child 2007;92:992–995. doi: 10.1136/adc.2006.115402
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3. Large national survey although size not specified
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1980

Survey type:Measured
Age:4-16
Area covered:National
References:van den Hurk K, van Buuren P, van Buuren S, Verkerk PH and HiraSing RA. (2007). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Netherlands in 2003 compared to 1980 and 1977. Archives Dis Child, 92: 992 - 995.
Notes:IOTF Cut off. Reference: Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. BMJ. 2000 May 6;320(7244):1240-3. Large national survey - sample size not specified.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age and education

Men, 2017

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2017 - Education EUROSTAT Database http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=ilc_hch10&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2017

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2017 - Education EUROSTAT Database http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=ilc_hch10&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by education

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Notes:Less than primary, primary and lower secondary education (levels 0-2) Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (levels 3 and 4) Tertiary education (levels 5-8) Total sample size in EU = 35100 (Age 18+)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Notes:Less than primary, primary and lower secondary education (levels 0-2) Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (levels 3 and 4) Tertiary education (levels 5-8) Total sample size in EU = 35100 (Age 18+)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2013

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:25+
Area covered:National
References:Statistics Netherlands (CBS): http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?VW=T&DM=SLEN&PA=81177ENG&LA=EN (last accessed on 26.5.15)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:10-12
Sample size:901
Area covered:National
References:Brug J, van Stralen MM, te Velde SJ et al. Differences in Weight Status and Energy-Balance Related Behaviors among Schoolchildren across Europe: The ENERGY-Project. PLoS ONE 2012;7 (4) e34742
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2017 - EUROSTAT Database http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=ilc_hch10&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2013

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Statistics Netherlands (CBS): http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?VW=T&DM=SLEN&PA=81177ENG&LA=EN (last accessed on 26.5.15)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2003

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:90071
Area covered:National
References:Katja van den Hurk, Paula van Dommelen, Stef van Buuren, Paul H Verkerk, Remy A HiraSing. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Netherlands in 2003 compared to 1980 and 1997' Arch Dis Child 2007;92:992-995.
Cutoffs:Other

Overweight/obesity by age and region

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by age and socio-economic group

Adults, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Notes:1st Quintile (lowest income), 5th Quintile (highest income) Please note where data = zero, there were insufficient data. Total sample number in EU: 35100 (Age 18+)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Area covered:National
References:2014 Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Notes:1st Quintile (lowest income), 5th Quintile (highest income) Please note where data = zero, there were insufficient data. Total sample number in EU: 35100 (Age 18+)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Sugar consumption

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International
Definitions:Sugar consumption (Number of 500g sugar portions/person/month)

Estimated per-capita sugar sweetened beverages intake

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International

Prevalence of at least daily carbonated soft drink consumption

Children, 2014

Survey type:Measured
References:World Health Organization. (2017). Adolescent obesity and related behaviours: Trends and inequalities in the who european region, 2002-2014: observations from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) WHO collaborative cross-national study (J. Inchley, D. Currie, J. Jewel, J. Breda, & V. Barnekow, Eds.). World Health Organization. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org
Notes:15-year-old adolescents
Definitions:Prevalence of at least daily carbonated soft drink consumption (% of at least daily carbonated soft drink consumption)

Prevalence of confectionery consumption

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International
Definitions:Prevalence of confectionery consumption (Number of 50g confectionery portions/person/month)

Prevalence of sweet/savoury snack consumption

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International
Definitions:Prevalence of sweet/savoury snack consumption (Number of 35g sweet/savoury snack portions/person/month)

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption

Children, 2014

Survey type:Measured
References:Global School-based Student Health Surveys. Beal et al (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption (% less-than-daily fruit consumption)

Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption

Children, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption (% less-than-daily vegetable consumption)

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: High Income

Health systems summary

The Netherlands provides universal health coverage through a mixed healthcare system that finances curative, long-term care and social care through different means. Curative care (which includes specialist care, primary care, pharmaceuticals and mental health care) is financed through a competitive social insurance system that was reformed in 2006 to be made mandatory for all residents. All residents are required to purchase a social insurance policy that covers a defined benefit package, and all insurers must accept all applications. This is in contrast with the single payer social insurance system that is in place for long-term care and the locally-led, tax-funded social care scheme.

Out of pocket payments in the Netherlands is relatively low (compared to the rest of the European Union) at 11.1% of health expenditure. This is believed to be due to the large voluntary health insurance sector and the fact that GP care and maternal care are free at point of delivery.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Not known
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?Partial
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Not known
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?Not known
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?Partial

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Lack of financial investment and funding for coverage
  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • Failure to recognise or accept all treatment options
  • Poor availability of pharmaceutical options
  • Stigma
  • Food cost and availability
  • Lack of evidence, monitoring and research

Summary of stakeholder feedback

While not there yet, stakeholders felt that the government and healthcare providers and professionals were making great strides towards recognising obesity as a disease. It was noted that overweight and obesity features in the National Prevention Agreement launched in 2018, an agreement that lays out important steps to address overweight and obesity, smoking and problematic alcohol consumption in the Netherlands (as the 3 biggest contributors to the burden on disease). It appears that most prevention efforts are currently made in and around schools.

Healthcare coverage for obesity management and treatment was reported to have improved in recent years. Since 2019, 2 years of lifestyle intervention is covered by insurance. The recent coverage of lifestyle intervention is a major step forward in the treatment of those who are overweight but not eligible/suitable for surgery (which is also covered by insurance).

Generally, most adults enter the system through primary care and most children are picked up through routine screening. Despite being the gatekeepers to treatment, GPs are said to be unable to address excess weight with their patients living with overweight and obesity because of short consultation times. When it is discussed, it was said that individuals are reluctant to be referred on because of the cost. Stakeholders reported that although obesity treatments are included as part of the basic health insurance, the €385 excess fee was a barrier to those on a low income. It was felt that most left the system after failing to attend appointments post-referral.

There are a reasonable number of obesity-related healthcare professionals in both urban and rural areas in the Netherlands, but numbers could be improved. Stakeholders felt that behavioural professionals were particularly lacking. While specialist obesity training does not appear to be available, stakeholders reported that individual professionals are starting to do obesity-specific training e.g. internal medicine specialists, paediatricians, dieticians and physiotherapists. Care standards exist for both adult and children, but it was said that not all health professionals were aware of the existence of the guidelines.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 7 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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