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6 in 10 Caribbean Dutch are overweight

Press Release CBS

One in six inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands are smokers, one in eight are heavy drinkers and over six in ten are overweight. Half of the population are getting sufficient exercise. Women smoke and drink much less than men, but are more likely to be obese and exercise less. These are some conclusions from the Health Study which was conducted in the Caribbean Netherlands in 2017.

In collaboration with the Public Health departments of the public entities Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) conducted a health monitoring survey in the Caribbean Netherlands in 2017. This Health Study Caribbean Netherlands was held to gain insight into the overall health status of the island population and into common infectious diseases, as well as to examine whether the population is well-protected against the infectious diseases against which they are vaccinated as part of the National Vaccination Programme. A total of 1,900 people participated in the study.

Few heavy smokers

Of the Caribbean Dutch population, 17 percent say they smoke. Only 2 percent are heavy smokers, i.e. with an average of 20 or more cigarettes per day. Women are much less likely to smoke than men. Smoking behaviour varies per island. On Saba, 24 percent of the population are smokers, versus 17 percent on Bonaire and 13 percent on St Eustatius. On all three islands, the number of heavy smokers is relatively small.

In the Caribbean Netherlands, 11 percent of the non-smoking residents are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke indoors for at least one hour per day. On Bonaire, this is 12 percent; on St Eustatius 3 percent and on Saba 11 percent. This includes children. On Bonaire, for example, 9 percent of 0 to 11-year-olds smoke passively for at least one hour per day; of the non-smoking 12 to 15-year-olds, this share is 14 percent. On St Eustatius and Saba, fewer children seem to be exposed to other people’s smoke.

Share of heavy drinkers much smaller among women

One in eight residents of the Caribbean Netherlands are heavy drinkers: 8 percent of women versus 17 percent of men. Women on all three islands drink less alcohol than men.

St Eustatius has the lowest share of heavy drinkers at 8 percent. On Saba and Bonaire, the shares amount to 16 and 12 percent respectively.

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