Over 50 percent of Dutch adults don’t get enough exercise

Over 50 percent of Dutch adults don’t get enough exercise

Research conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in collaboration with the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) has revealed that 53 percent of adults in the Netherlands didn’t get enough exercise in 2021. 

Most adults in the Netherlands aren't exercising enough

According to the Beweegrichtlijnen (“Exercise Guidelines”) drawn up by the Health Council of the Netherlands in 2017, adults over the age of 18 should engage in 2,5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise - such as running, swimming, or cycling - a week. Meanwhile, children aged four to 12 should engage in one hour of moderate exercise a day. 

According to CBS and the RIVM, 47 percent of the population of the Netherlands aged four and above met these requirements in 2021 - a slight dip in comparison to 2019 and 2020. The research also found that the level of activeness varied greatly between different age groups. 

18 to 25-year-olds cycled less in 2021 than in 2020

Relatively speaking, children between the ages of four and 12 were the most active in 2021, with 62,3 percent meeting the requirements set out by the Health Council. Similarly, while only 33,1 percent of adults over the age of 75 met the exercise standards, CBS and the RIVM found that this group has become significantly more active since 2017, when only 24,7 percent met the relevant guidelines. 

On the other hand, those aged 18 to 65 became significantly less active between 2020 and 2021. Figures peaked during 2020 - likely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdowns put in place by the Dutch government - when 56,3 percent of adults met the Health Council’s requirements. In 2021, this fell to 48 percent. 

Adults between the ages of 18 and 35 saw the biggest fall in activity levels, with CBS reporting that Dutch people in this age group cycle less in their free time and to and from school, university or their jobs. In 2020, 58,7 percent met the exercise guidelines, but this figure fell to 49,7 percent in 2022.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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