In 2022, 7 out of 10 adults in the Netherlands perceived their health as good or very good. In late 2020, this was still 8 out of 10 people. Furthermore, there are large differences between regions and population groups in this regard. Among people who are struggling to make ends meet, perceived health declined even more sharply. This is according to the COVID-19 Health Monitor 2022 for adults and elderly, a large-scale survey conducted in autumn 2022.
The percentage of adults who perceived their own health as good or very good decreased in 2022 compared to 2020 (from 79% to 70%). This is in contrast with a slight increase between 2016 and 2020. The percentage in 2022 was not only lower than in 2020, but also lower than in 2016 and 2012 (both 76%).
Differences between regions
How people perceive their own health varies greatly between Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) regions. All regions have seen a decline since 2020. Differences between regions are partly related to population characteristics such as age and education level.
Link between poorer perceived health and making ends meet
Besides differences between regions, there are also differences in perceived health between population groups. In general, perceived health is poorer among those who struggle to make ends meet financially and those who have no education, primary education, pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO) or senior secondary vocational education level 1 (MBO-1) as their highest completed level of education. Of the group that is struggling to make ends meet, only 5 out of 10 perceive their own health as good or very good. In addition, the survey shows that perceived health among the latter group declined more sharply compared to 2020.
Poorer mental health
Mental health has also been getting worse. More people felt lonely in 2022 than in 2020. The number of people at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder or depression increased as well. The decline in mental health has affected all ages, but especially young adults (those aged 18–24). This was also evident from previous studies.
Positive effects of the coronavirus crisis
However, there were some positive results as well. Half of the people reported that they were still experiencing positive effects from the coronavirus crisis 4 months after the coronavirus measures were lifted. The consequences mentioned most often were working or studying from home, getting more rest and a better work/study/life balance. Also, half of all Dutch people perceived sufficient resilience. This is indicative of their generally good ability to recover from adversity.
About the Health Monitor
From September until December 2022, all Municipal Public Health Services and the municipality of Utrecht worked with RIVM and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) to conduct a survey among Dutch people aged 18 and over: the COVID-19 Health Monitor 2022. Nearly 365,000 adults and elderly people from all across the Netherlands completed a questionnaire about their health, lifestyle and well-being. You can find more information about this survey on the website monitorgezondheid.nl. The Municipal Public Health Services conducted this survey as part of the Health Research for COVID-19. This involves a partnership between the Netherlands Municipal Public Health Services (GGDs), GGD GHOR Nederland (the national umbrella organisation of the GGDs and Regional Medical Assistance Organisations), RIVM, the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (Nivel) and ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre. Together, these parties make up the GOR Network. ZonMw commissioned the Health Research for COVID-19 on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.