National Prevention Agreement in the Netherlands: Targets for drinking, smoking and obesity are still far from reach for 2040

Recent numbers show us that the number of adults who smoke or drink excessively has decreased slightly in the past year, but the number of overweight and obese people has slightly increased. The targets set by the National Prevention Agreement in the Netherlands by 2040 are still far from reach.

The Health Survey/Lifestyle Monitor 2018 by Statistics Netherlands has been created in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Trimbos Institute (the country’s Institute of mental health and addiction). This survey was to see where we stand in reaching these targets set by the agreement.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

National Prevention Agreement

One of the things that the National Prevention Agreement states are that smoking and excessive and heavy drinking among Dutch people above the age of 18 should be reduced to a maximum of 5%. The target for overweight people should be no more than 38%, while it should be a maximum of 7.1% for people living with obesity.

This agreement was decided upon by the State Secretary of Health, and around 70 social organisations and companies. These targets need to be realised by 2040.

What do the numbers show?


In the last year, 22.4% of Dutch people over 18 said they smoked, of which 71.6% of them smoked every day. This is a slight decrease from last year’s number of 23.1% of adults. In addition, 44.2% said they never smoked in the past.

Excessive drinker vs. heavy drinker

The RIVM defines an excessive drinker as a woman who drinks more than 14 glasses a week or a man who drinks more than 21 glasses a week. Whereas a heavy drinker is someone who drinks 4 (for women) and 6 (for men) glasses at least once a week in one day.

In 2018, we know that 8.2% of adults considered themselves as excessive drinkers as compared to 9.2% in 2017. The number of heavy drinkers remained the same at 9%. We also know that 8.5% of the people said they never drank, while 4 in 5 people had alcohol in the last 12 months.

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Obesity and being overweight

Apparently, a little over half of the country’s Dutch population was overweight in the last year, while 15% were obese. This is the only one that has increased, and not decreased when compared to the year earlier. 48.7% of the Dutch population was overweight in the year earlier, while 13.9% were obese.

Love the Dutch for always being so health conscious! What do you make of this? Do you agree? Let us know in the comments!

Feat Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


Kavana Desai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


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