Report Dutch eating habits: Less meat, alcohol and soft drinks’

The national Institute for public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has a new report on the Dutch eating habits published. Dutch, have less meat and other animal products eat and also be careful with alcohol and soft drinks.

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The RIVM published a new report about food: What’s on our plate? Safe, healthy and sustainable food in the Netherlands. Therein we can read that most of our Neighbors are healthy and that the life expectancy is increasing. But also that half of the population is overweight and in lower socio-economic groups, this figure was even higher.

Almost all Dutch people, nine out of ten people eat too little vegetables and fruit. Almost thirty percent of the food in the Netherlands is of animal origin. This is not only harmful for the health, but also for the environment. There are also too many alcoholic and sugary drinks consumed. The RIVM recommends that no alcohol or up to one alcoholic drink per day to drink. Also the consumption of soft drinks and fruit juices are not recommended, because these products contain sugar and hardly any other nutrients.

The RIVM states that the Netherlands has a leading role to play. ‘The netherlands wants to be at the forefront in the international ambition for a healthy, sustainable, and safe diet. In order to realize an integral policy is needed that focuses on safety, health and sustainability at the same time.’

The result of the proposed healthier diet is that the number of chronic illnesses, and obesity will decrease.


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According to the RIVM provides food in the world for twenty-five percent of all emissions of greenhouse gases. More than half of these, fifty-five percent, is related to animal products. The frequent eating and drinking of animal products such as meat, milk, cheese and yogurt provides for the emission of greenhouse gases that is similar to that of transport. Also caused food sixty percent of the loss of biodiversity.

The environmental impacts of the production of alcohol, fruit juices and soft drinks is per kg of product is lower than the production of animal foods. Still carries the consumption of these alcoholic beverages and soft drinks about ten percent to the ghg emissions of the Dutch food consumption

In addition, waste in the Netherlands average annual zevenveertig pounds of food per person. A smarter approach must therefore ensure that there is less food waste is, what the environment would benefit.


The report message also about the dilemmas. Not all measures for healthy diet are just as durable and safe, and vice versa. So it is durable to consumption of meat, the whole animal from head to tail to eat, but sausage is not healthy. They appoint also the tension between abstract, long-term objectives (‘healthier, more sustainable and safe’) and concrete choices in everyday life. Price and convenience continue to be for citizens and companies still at the top, although they are health and sustainability are also important. Stores like to of course sell and make a profit, and try so as cheap and practical as possible.

The RIVM therefore calls for an active role of the government. Together with the agricultural sector, companies, citizens and civil society organisations, they need to think of solutions for the prevailing dilemmas. Sensitisation of the consumer is of great importance.

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