Bodyweight: severely overweight (obese)

The percentage of young people (aged 2-24 years) who are severely overweight (obese).

Bodyweight is expressed in terms of the Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is calculated by dividing bodyweight in kilograms by the square of height in metres (kg/m²). It is a generally accepted measure for the determination of overweight and underweight adults aged 18 years and older. People with a BMI of 25 or higher are overweight, those with a BMI of 30 or higher are severely overweight (obese).

There are no fixed BMI threshold values to determine whether growing children are overweight or obese. In addition, BMI differs between boys and girls: the values for girls are slightly higher on average than for boys. In 2000 the International Obesity Task Force of World Health Organisation proposed criteria to determine obesity in children, based on six international growth studies (including a 1997 study for the Netherlands). The criteria were chosen in such a way that they correspond with the accepted values for people aged over 18 years. For ages younger than 18 years cut-off points for the BMI were determined for each age and separately for boys and girls, above which children are considered to be overweight or obese. The table in this publication is based on these internationally applied cut-off points (see: Cole T.J., Bellizzi M.C., Flegal K.M. Dietz W.H. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide. International survey. BMJ 2000;320:1-6).

As the values are self-reported, the percentage of overweight and obese young people may be underestimated.

Source: Statistics Netherlands, Permanent Life Situation Survey.