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To comply with the Physical Activity Guidelines of the Health Council of the Netherlands adults must engage in at least two and a half hours of moderate intensity activities, such as cycling or swimming, every week and spread over several days. They should also do activities to strengthen bone and muscular tissue, for example running, at least twice a week.

More men do sports weekly

Just as many men as women aged over 18 complied with these guidelines in 2022. More men than women did enough activities at moderate or heavy intensity, while more women did enough activities to strengthen their bones and muscles. More men (52 percent) than women (49 percent) did some form of sport at least weekly.

1 in 3 over-75s comply with guidelines

People aged 75 and older were least likely to comply with the guidelines (29 percent). In the age group 18 to 34 years, 48 percent met the target. In this age group, 63 percent did sports at least weekly. Among the over-75s, this share was lowest at 31 percent.

Compliance with physical activity guidelines and physical exercise, 2022
18-34 yrs 48.2 63.2
35-49 yrs 45.3 54.1
50-64 yrs 44.0 45.2
65-74 yrs 45.4 44.5
75 yrs and over 28.7 30.6
Source: CBS, RIVM

More people with higher vocational or university education comply with guidelines

Forty-nine percent of over-25s with a degree in higher vocational (HBO) or university education complied with the physical activity guidelines, and 65 percent said they did some form of sport on a weekly basis. In the group with only primary education or prevocational secondary education (VMBO), 35 percent complied with the recommendations, while 30 percent said they exercised every week. When also taking age into account, we see that more people who have completed higher vocational or university studies complied with the guidelines, and reported doing sports every week.

Compliance with physical activity guidelines and physical exercise by education level, 2022
Comply with physical activity guidelines 34.9 43.3 49.0
Exercise weekly 30.0 45.4 65.2
Source: CBS, RIVM

Fewer Dutch complying with activity guidelines

The government has set a target of 75 percent of the Dutch population meeting the physical activity guidelines by 2040. When the guidelines were introduced in 2017, 47 percent of the adult population complied with them. This was 44 percent in 2022. The share of adults who engaged in (at least) moderate intensity activities was also lower in 2022 than in 2017. However, slightly more over-18s did sufficient bone and muscle-strengthening activities in 2022 than in 2017. The share of adults who did some form of sport every week remained more or less constant.

Compliance with physical activity guidelines
Comply with physical activity guidelines 44 46.9
Perform sufficient bone and muscle-strengthening exercises 78.1 76.3
Engage in sufficient moderate intensity activities 50.1 54.5
Do sports weekly 50.5 51.9
Source: CBS, RIVM

This news release is based on the publication The Netherlands in numbers 2023, which answers 34 questions about the country by means of images and text.

Source of original article: Statistics Netherlands (CBS) (
The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Global Diaspora News (

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