- The Dutch National Public Health Compass has been available on the Internet (www.nationaalkompas.nl) since 2001. This website, developed and managed by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, contains data and information on the population’s health status, its determinants, prevention and care. The Compass brings together information from various data sources, research and expert opinions.
- On the basis of this Compass, an overview has been made of the health of the Dutch population.
- Both the life expectancy and the healthy life expectancy in the Netherlands increased after 1980.
- Mortality from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular accidents and lung cancer decreased, but they are still the most important causes of death.
- Especially psychological disorders (alcohol dependence, anxiety disorders and depression), coronary heart disease and COPD are associated with a significant decrease in quality of life.
- There are important health differences in the Netherlands between rich and poor, urban and rural areas, natives and immigrants.
- The difference in life expectancy between men and women will decrease from more than 5 years in 2000 to less than 4 years in 2020.
- A permanent facility for the provision of accurate public-health information is of great importance. The collaboration of registration holders and experts in maintaining the Compass is and will remain essential so that an integral overview of the health of the Dutch population can also be made in the future.
Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2005;149:226-31