The Dutch government wants to reduce the percentage of people who smoke, are overweight or whose alcohol consumption is problematic. To this end, the National Prevention Agreement was drawn up in 2018, with ambitions for 2040. In this context, the government made agreements with over 70 different parties.” Model calculations by RIVM show that these agreements will likely have insufficient impact. The 2040 ambitions for all three theme’s will not be achieved.

For the first time, RIVM extensively calculated whether the 2040 ambitions would be achieved based on the progress so far. It calculated the situation in 2040 both with and without the agreements. What is clear is that more and stricter measures are necessary in order to achieve the ambitions. Intensifying the current measures could also help.

Slightly fewer smokers, but not enough to achieve ambition

The agreements will result in slightly fewer smokers in 2040 than if there had been no agreements. According to the calculations, around 10% of adults will still smoke, exceeding the ambition of 5% or less. Without the agreements, this would be 13%. Also, 4% of children aged 12–16 will still smoke, despite the ambition to reduce the number of young people smoking to zero by 2040. More measures are necessary to achieve the ambition. As an example, additional price increases could be introduced on top of the previously agreed increases.

Percentage of people who are overweight will remain high

According to the calculations, the ambition to turn the increase in the percentage of people who are overweight into a decrease will not be achieved either. The ambition is to limit the percentage of people who are overweight in 2040 to 38% of adults and 9.1% of children (aged 4–17). However, the calculations indicate that the agreements will result in over 55% of adults still being overweight. Without agreements, this would be 58%. The percentage of children who are overweight in 2040 will be around 14% (with the agreements) instead of 15% (without the agreements). Additional and stricter measures could contribute to achieving the ambition. Examples include making healthy food cheaper, limiting sales outlets offering unhealthy food or further limiting advertising of unhealthy food.

Percentage of problem drinkers will be barely reduced

RIVM’s calculations also make it clear that the agreements to reduce problem drinking are having insufficient impact in practice. The ambition is to limit the percentage of problem drinkers to 5% by 2040. The calculations show that this percentage is barely affected by the agreements and the percentage will be around 8% in 2040. Additional and stricter measures, such as price increases, reducing the availability of alcoholic drinks and limiting advertising could contribute to achieving this ambition.

About the calculations

RIVM performed these calculations relating to the NPA on the instruction of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. RIVM made two estimates for the situation in 2040: a realistic estimate of the impact of the agreements and a more optimistic estimate. Even with the more optimistic estimate, the ambitions will not be achieved for any of the theme’s.