Edition 2023

Foto omschrijving: Woman eating a salad and saying no to chocolate cake.

What keeps people from eating healthier?

Nearly half of Dutch adults who want to eat more healthily say that now and again they are swayed by others to eat unhealthy products. Thirty-nine percent find it difficult to say no to unhealthy food. Fewer people (17 percent) say they do not have enough money to buy healthy products. Most adults who want to follow a healthier diet say they do know which food products are healthy and which aren’t (87 percent).

In 2022, 36 percent of adults said they wanted to eat a healthier diet. Fifty-eight percent said they didn’t need to because they already ate healthily. Five percent are not bothered by what they eat and 1 percent do not think a healthy diet is important. More than half of obese people (54 percent) say they want to eat a healthier diet.

Lower risk of health problems and disease

Most people want to eat more healthily to lower the risk of health problems and illness. Over half give this as their motive. Relatively many people also say feeling physically fitter is a reason for a healthier diet (28 percent). Ten percent said losing weight, looking better, or not gaining weight were motives for healthier eating.

Reasons for a healthier diet¹⁾, 2022 (% of over-18s who want
to have a healthier diet)
Reden 2022
Lower the risk of health
problems and illness
Feel physically fitter 28.4
Lose weight, look better
or not gain weight
Reduce or cure health
problems or illness
Feel mentally better 2.9
Other 0.8
¹⁾Multiple answers possible.

It’s hard to say no if others don’t say no to unhealthy food

People who want to eat more healthily mostly have problems saying no to unhealthy foods if they are with others who do eat them. Over half of people asked about this find this difficult. Forty-six percent said they struggle not to eat unhealthy products in times of stress, 43 percent said it is difficult if unhealthy products are in the house. Both being in a hurry and being at home alone are mentioned by one third.

Saying no to unhealthy food, 2022 (% of over-18s who want
to have a healthier diet)
Situatie (Very) easy Neither easy nor difficult (Very) difficult
If with others who eat unhealthy food 20.4 28.9 50.8
In times of stress 26.2 28.0 45.8
If unhealthy food is in the house 27.4 29.3 43.3
If in a hurry 32.6 29.8 37.6
If at home alone 33.6 30.1 36.3

Obese people who want to eat a healthier diet find it especially difficult in stressful situations: 61 percent report this, compared with 40 percent of people in the healthy weight range. When they are at home on their own, too, obese people struggle to stop themselves eating unhealthy foods.


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Explanation of symbols

Explanation of symbols

Empty cell figure not applicable
. figure is unknown, insufficiently reliable or confidential
* provisional figure
** revised provisional figure
(between two numbers) inclusive
0 (0.0) less than half of unit concerned
2016–2017 2016 to 2017 inclusive
2016/2017 average for the years 2016 up to and including 2017
2016/’17 crop year, financial year, school year etc., beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017
2004/’05–2016/’17 crop year etc. 2004/’05 up to and including 2016/’17

Due to rounding, some totals may not correspond to the sum of the separate figures.

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CBS responds to developments in Dutch society by providing statistical information as facts that matter, and communicates on these facts with the outside world. In doing so, CBS offers insights into current developments in society and helps answer policy questions. Research at CBS is focused on broad trends in society and how these are interrelated.

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Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik, Janneke Hendriks, Richard Jollie

With thanks to Hendrik Zuidhoek


Annelie Hakkenes (final editing)

Elma Wobma (general project leader)

Erik van den Berg

Gert Jan Wijma

Karolien van Wijk

Michel van Kooten

Paul de Winden

Saskia Stavenuiter

Sidney Vergouw


Gabriëlle de Vet, Lieneke Hoeksma, Frans Dinnissen


Ronald van der Bie

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition.