People in the Netherlands are living longer than ever. But the differences between people are big
With the advisory letter ‘Growing up, living and working healthily’, the Socio-Economic Council calls on the incoming government to quickly work on health promotion and reduce socio-economic health differences. The SER recommends that policy be focused primarily on removing social causes of health risks and on improving the health of everyone, with extra attention to people in a vulnerable position.
Read the advice ‘Growing up, living and working healthily’
From aftercare to precaution and health
People in the Netherlands are living longer than ever. But the differences between people are big. For example, theoretically educated people live an average of five years older and live an average of fourteen years longer in good health than practically educated people. The 20 percent most prosperous people in the Netherlands also live more than eight years longer, and 24 years longer in good health. Health promotion is important for the well-being and (financial) independence of people now and for future generations. In addition, it makes the Netherlands more resilient: healthier people can participate better in society and the labor market. A different starting point is needed: from aftercare to precaution and health. This requires an integrated, cross-domain long-term approach, in which health, labor market, social security, education and the living environment come together.
“Promoting health for everyone and structurally reducing socio-economic health differences are a necessary part of the pursuit of broad prosperity,” SER chairman Kim Putters
Health in all policy areas, security of existence and healthier generations
The most important recommendations are:
- Pay attention to health in all policy areas. Promoting the health of the population must be central to broad government policy.
- Promote social security to lead a healthy life. Social security means that people can get and keep work, have sufficient and adequate income and means of subsistence, that financial problems are prevented or solved, and that people have access to affordable and healthy housing, education and healthcare.
- Make sure that everyone who can do so can participate in well-paid work. There is an urgent need to work towards a more inclusive and healthier labor market.
- Speed up with the Healthy Generation. Let children and young people exercise more during the school day, organize healthier meals and promote equal opportunities in education.
- Strengthen area-based programs and give priority to vulnerable regions and neighborhoods to increase the chances of healthy living in these areas; to this end, strengthen regional and local facilities.
- Transform the healthcare system into a health system by combating chronic stress, insecurity and unhealthy stimuli in people’s social and physical environment.
The advisory letter was prepared by the SER Ad hoc committee on Socio-Economic Health Differences (SEGV), chaired by SER crown member Prof. Dr. Marike Knoef.
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