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For your health? campaign in Netherlands

10.07.2023 - Research shows that the Dutch often don't realise how unhealthy alcohol actually is. We primarily associate alcohol with conviviality (54%) and less with something unhealthy for you (27%). We mainly think that binge drinking is bad, but don't realize that the risk of certain types of cancer increases if you drink one glass of alcohol per day. Therefore, the Digestive Diseases Foundation and the Dutch Cancer Society have launched a knowledge campaign about the relationship between alcohol and cancer as part of the Healthy Generation initiative. The aim of the 'For Your Health?' campaign is to share knowledge and create awareness: drinking alcohol increases the risk of 7 types of cancer.

Johan van de Gronden, director of the Dutch Cancer Society and chairman of Alcohol Prevention for the Healthy Generation, says: “Often there's nothing you can do to prevent getting cancer. But in at least a third of cases, cancer is partly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, including drinking alcohol. We believe it is of great importance that people are aware of this. With the 'For Your Health?' campaign, we want to point this out so that people can make informed decisions for themselves and future generations.”

Annually over 4,000 cases of cancer due to alcohol Research from the Trimbos Institute earlier this year already showed that only 37% of Dutch people know that drinking alcohol can lead to cancer. This refers to an increased risk of oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal, breast, liver, and bowel cancer. For instance, the risk of breast cancer already increases with just one glass of alcohol per day. Every year, more than 4,000 people get cancer from alcohol.

New Research: What do the Dutch think about alcohol? Research agency MarketResponse conducted a quantitative study on behalf of health funds among 1,605 Dutch adults. They researched what the participants think and know about alcohol. This representative study revealed that:

  • Alcohol in our society is strongly associated with conviviality (54%) and relaxation (39%) and less so with being unhealthy (27%). Knowledge about the harm caused by alcohol is not widely enough known. People mainly think that drinking a lot at once is unhealthy. According to only 46%, having a glass of alcohol every day is unhealthy to very unhealthy. 20% even think that it's healthy. Fact is: there is no safe amount of alcohol. Both frequent and binge drinking is unhealthy.

  • Adults also see the downside of drinking alcohol. 64% consider alcohol a risky product. People mainly think of short-term issues and less of long-term health risks. For example, 61% admit that alcohol sometimes leads to unpleasant situations between people.

  • Two-thirds believe that adults should be more aware of their role model status towards young people. Research by Trimbos shows that children whose parents drink alcohol often start drinking early, binge drink, or develop an alcohol addiction later in life. Seeing parents drink also plays a role in youths' alcohol use.

About the 'For Your Health?' campaign The 'For Your Health?' campaign is an initiative by the Digestive Diseases Foundation and the Dutch Cancer Society as part of the Healthy Generation initiative. From July 3rd to July 30th, the campaign will be visible on TV and in cinemas. With this knowledge campaign, we aim to make Dutch people more aware of the health risks of alcohol. This first campaign specifically addresses the fact that drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancer. The initiators want to launch more knowledge campaigns about other health effects of alcohol in the coming years.

Find more from the Healthy Generation initiative (Netherlands, July 2023)

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