Dutch government looks to limit availability of fast food with new law
In an attempt to limit the consumption of unhealthy food, specifically amongst young people, the Dutch government is looking to introduce new laws that would place tougher restrictions on advertising and fast-food restaurants near schools.
Limiting access and availability of fast food in the Netherlands
In recent years, key Dutch cities and municipalities have asked the government to intervene when it came to the booming fast-food industry in the Netherlands. In a letter written to former State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare, and Sport, Paul Blokhuis, representatives from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Ede asked the cabinet to introduce legislation that would allow for municipalities to ban certain fast-food establishments from being able to open.
Blokhuis’ successor, Maarten van Ooijen, appears to have heard the plea, telling the AD that something needs to be done to limit the number of fast-food establishments in the Netherlands: “One in seven children is now overweight…In lower social classes it is even one in three."
Van Ooijen is looking into various options - including stricter rules for fast-food advertising, fast-food establishments near schools, and the sale of sweets and unhealthy snacks in schools - and hopes to present a plan to the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) later this year. “Of course, you can continue to eat fries. But I want that to be a well-considered choice, not guided because on every street corner there is a billboard advertising that unhealthy food,” he explained.
CBS reports half of adult population classified as overweight
The government faces increasing pressure to tackle obesity in the Netherlands, as various health organisations call for a sugar tax to be introduced or for the government to reduce VAT on fruits and vegetables.
Earlier this month, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported that, in spite of the National Prevention Agreement introduced by the government in 2018, the number of overweight adults has not decreased in the past three years.
The Dutch government introduced the National Prevention Agreement in an attempt to encourage Dutch citizens to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Since 2018, various steps have been taken to reduce smoking and excessive drinking - and have proven relatively successful. However, the number of people with a BMI of at least 25 still stands at 50 percent of the adult population. The aim of the Agreement is to reduce this figure to 38 percent by 2040.