Dutch health forecasts for 2030 released

According to the 2014 Volksgezondheid Toekomst Verkenning (VTV) report released by the Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) titled "Een Gezonder Nederland" (A Healthier Netherlands), life expectancy for the Dutch is set to increase from 79 to 82 for men and from 83 to 85 for women by the year 2030.

However, the predicted increase in life expectancy will be accompanied by a rise in those living with a chronic illness: from around 5,3 million in 2011 to around 7 million in 2030. Furthermore, lung cancer will be surpassed by dementia as the leading cause of death.

Meanwhile, the amount of overweight individuals will remain approximately the same (around 48 per cent) as the number of smokers decrease from 23 per cent (2012) to around 19 per cent (2030).

Significant trends in Dutch health

The VTV report contains a series of in-depth forecasts and models that offer insight into trends concerning public health issues in the Netherlands until the year 2030. The most noteworthy are as follows.

Dutch will live longer

Both Dutch men and women can expect an increase in average life expectancy by 2030; from 79 to 82 and from 83 to 85, respectively. 

Compared to the rest of the EU, Dutch men are set to have one of the longest life expectancies, while women are just about average.

In the past, Dutch women were relatively heavy smokers compared to other women in the EU, which is cited as a significant factor in accounting for this difference.

Another major factor effecting life expectancy is education level, with highly educated individuals set to live six years longer on average than their less educated counterparts.

Sharp rise in chronic illnesses

The amount of the Dutch population living with a chronic illness, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, is set to increase from around 32 per cent in 2011 to nearly 40 per cent in 2030.

Such a sharp increase mainly results from having an aging population that readily seeks treatment (meaning early detection), thereby living longer with the illness.

Although there will be an increase in chronic illness, the report also notes that this should not result in more people living with serious physical limitations, which is predicted to remain stable at about 1,6 per cent of the populace.

 Dementia: the new leading cause of death 

The current leading causes of death in the Netherlands are lung cancer and heart disease. 

However, with the increasing quality of available treatments, attention to the importance of individual health and people living longer, dementia is set to effect more people, eventually becoming the main contributing factor in deaths by 2030.

In 2012, around 10.000 Dutch people died as a result of complications stemming from dementia. This number is expected to more than double by 2030 to around 21.000. For comparison, around 9.500 Dutch passed away as a result of heart disease in 2012. That total is expected to drop to around 5.300 by 2030, while deaths resulting from lung cancer will increase from 10.900 in 2012 to around 16.500 by 2030.

Percentage overweight stable, less smokers

The rate of overweight individuals in the Netherlands is set to remain just about stable over the coming two decades at around 48 per cent with one in three Dutch people not getting enough exercise.

In terms of smoking, the percentage is set to decrease from 23 per cent of the population in 2012 to around 19 per cent by 2030. 

This decrease, however, is not expected to occur equally as lower educated individuals account for nearly one-and-a-half times the amount of total smokers.

The Volksgezondheid Toekomst Verkenning is a report produced by the Dutch government every four years that provides an overview of public health issues in the Netherlands. Read the 2014 full report here.

Sources: Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RTL Nieuws

Benjamin Garstka


Benjamin Garstka

Raised in Massachusetts. University years in New York City. Graduate school in Utrecht. Amsterdammer by choice. Cultuurliefhebber. Urbanist. Affinity for sarcasm, craft beers, art criticism, stand-up comedy and the Dutch...

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