Younger Dutch generations at higher risk of morbid obesity

Obese Man (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ParentingPatch). (Obese Man (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/ParentingPatch))

Younger Dutch generations are more unhealthy than the generations preceding them and are at greater risk of morbid obesity and high blood pressure, according to a major study done by the RIVM, AD reports.

The study looked at the health of four generations and found that each generation is unhealthier than the one preceding it. Researcher Gerben Hulsegge attributes this to changes in society over the past decades. "People use the car a lot more, unhealthy diets became relatively cheaper and more available and we increasingly work sitting down", he said.

As obesity increases the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, the consequences for public health are enormous. More than 80 percent  of cardiovascular disease cases in the country can be attributed to unhealthy lifestyles. Heart disease is currently the number one killer among women. And diabetes is already by far the most common chronic disease in the Netherlands.

Less than 10 percent of the adults in the Netherlands maintain a healthy lifestyle - healthy weight, no smoking, low cholesterol and low blood pressure - for 10 years in a row. But those who do manage it have a seven times lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Over the past years efforts were made to make the Dutch population healthier. Food manufacturers committed to use considerably less salt and sugar in their products and give consumers better information about nutrition. And the government proposed to make more physical education possible at primary schools.

Despite this the RIVM expects that the future generations of elderly people will develop significant health problems more often and from a younger age.