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Abstract

Overweight is a worldwide growing epidemic. The Netherlands is among the countries with the highest prevalence for overweight, together with the USA, UK, and Germany. This paper investigates differences in overweight between native Dutch and three immigrant groups in the Netherlands, and the effects of food habits and socioeconomic status on overweight. The results show that all immigrant groups have a higher prevalence for overweight than the Dutch, apart from Moroccans. Males are overweight more frequently than females. Takeaway food, eating out, and fresh vegetables decrease BMI, while convenience food, ready-to-eat meals, and delivery food (in some cases) increase BMI. In all groups, BMI increases with age. For Surinamese/Antilleans and Turks BMI increases with children living at home, whereas for native Dutch BMI decreases with children living at home. The national health expenditures due to overweight is 200 million to 4 billion Euro per year, which is 1 to 5 percent of the national health expenditures. The government and health insurance companies should try to prevent overweight and encourage healthy behavior.

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