Three advisory councils call on new government to change course: “Ensure healthy exercise”

The health and well-being of many Dutch people is under pressure. 50% of Dutch adults are now overweight, which leads to poor physical health. There are also major concerns about mental health, especially among young people. Furthermore, social cohesion in society is decreasing and feelings of loneliness are increasing. We see that the Dutch are exercising less and less, which, among other things, increases the risk of chronic diseases and depression.

Public Health and Community Council July 11, 2024

The Living Environment and Infrastructure Council, the Public Health and Society Council and the Dutch Sports Council are very concerned. In a joint letter, they point out how the government can make a concrete contribution to its own ambition through the framework agreement to put prevention more centrally, including sport and exercise. The government’s goal is to improve health, reduce health disparities and control demand for care.

The Shura Councils make two recommendations to the new government to turn things around, aiming to provide healthier living conditions through meeting, exercise and training:

Firstly, councils are calling for a green, exercise-friendly living environment, which encourages people to get outside to exercise and meet others. This can be achieved by increasing the availability of sufficient green spaces, along with enjoyable and safe walking and cycling paths and other (sports) facilities.

Secondly, accessible facilities are needed so that everyone has the opportunity to play sport and exercise. This requires additional attention to the maintenance of facilities in the area, the strengthening of networks (e.g. between schools and associations), and social policy targeting people in vulnerable situations. The latter group often do not have the money to play sport or do not have the people to do so, and are also often involved in financial arrangements.

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Megan Vasquez

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