Alcohol policy in the Netherlands: the National Prevention Agreement
On 23 November 2018 in the Netherlands more than 70 representatives of organizations signed the National Prevention Agreement. This document had been set up by the Dutch government to form the basis to create a healthy Dutch generation around 2040. The agreement focuses on three lifestyle themes: alcohol, tobacco and overweight. Participants are NGO’s, the sports sector, insurance companies, the National Agency of Municipalities but also the alcohol industry, the retailers and the catering industry.
Method: Discussion paper
The main goal is to get a healthier generation in 2040 by taking various measures of prevention in collaboration or apart. Beside on youth, priority has been laid on elderly, pregnant women, members and visitors of sports clubs and students of universities. Also important are measures in Primary and Secondary Health Care and Health Care policy in industrial companies.
In 2040 in particular the following results have to be realized:
- No alcohol use during pregnancy
- A decrease of alcohol using pregnant women from 8.9% to 4% (including women who want to become pregnant.)
- When women know they are pregnant it has to be 2% (but preferably zero).
- No alcohol before the 18th birthday (preferably)
- Life-time use of scholars 12-16 yrs. decreases from 45% to 25%
- Last month use decreases from 25% to 15%
- Binge-drinking among last month users decreases from 71% to 45%
- Lesser non-moderated or heavy alcohol use
- The percentage of non-moderated alcohol users (18+) decreases from 8.8% to 5% with an emphasis on elderly.
- The percentage of heavy alcohol users (every week on at least one occasion 4 units for women, 6 units for men) decreases from 8.5% to 5% with an emphasis on 18-30 yrs.
- A growing consciousness about someone’s own drinking behavior and the consequences of it.
- Knowledge about the Guidelines and the health and social effects of alcohol use will be stimulated. The ambition is that 80% of the inhabitants (12+) knows the most important harmful effects.
- Knowledge among men about the impact of alcohol use on the unborn child and on sterility.
Measures are proposed in the field of the ‘three best buys’ (higher prices, lesser advertisement and restrictions in availability).
The developments in the measures in the Agreement consciously will be monitored to make sure the goals will be reached within 20 years. When the monitoring system shows too little progress the political measures will be strengthen.
The question which will be discussed in our contribution is whether the Netherlands by introducing this agreement really do make a step forward in developing healthy policy regarding to alcohol use and misuse or not. Will the ambitions and goals formulated in the agreement be reached in 2040?