Is our Youth Cycling to Health? Results From the Netherlands’ 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health


The Active Healthy Kids the Netherlands (AHKN) Report Card consolidates and translates research and assesses how the Netherlands is being responsible in providing physical activity (PA) opportunities for children and youth (<18 years). The primary aim of this article is to summarize the results of the 2016 AHKN Report Card.


Nine indicators were graded using the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance report card development process, which includes a synthesis of the best available research, surveillance, policy and practice findings, and expert consensus.


Grades assigned were: Overall Physical Activity Levels, D; Organized Sport Participation, B; Active Play, B; Active Transportation, A; Sedentary Behaviors, C; Family and Peers, B; School, C; Community and the Built Environment, A; Government Strategies and Investments, INC.


Sedentary behavior and overall PA levels are not meeting current guidelines. However, the Dutch youth behaviors in sports, active transportation, and active play are satisfactory. Several modifiable factors of influence might be enhanced to improve these indicators or at least prevent regression. Although Dutch children accumulate a lot of daily PA through cycling, it is not enough to meet the current national PA guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA per day.

Takken, Burghard, Knitel, and van Oost are with the Child Development & Exercise Center, & Shared Utrecht Pediatric Exercise Research (SUPER) Laboratory, Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital, University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands. Tremblay is with the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Dutch Physical Activity Report Card Study Group includes Cindy Veenhof (Utrecht University; HU University), Dick Ettema (Utrecht University), Dirk-Wouter Smits (Utrecht University), Dave van Kann (Maastricht University), Evelyn Monninkhof (University Medical Centre Utrecht), Han Kemper (Institute for Health and Care Research EMGO+), Janke de Groot (Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital; HU University), Jan Faber (Secondary Vocational Education Board [MBO Raad]), Jo Lucassen (Mulier Institute; Royal Dutch Society for Physical Education), JanJaap van der Net (Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital), Mariëlle Beijersbergen (Utrecht Municipality), Nicolette Schipper–van Veldhoven (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences; Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Confederation), Peter Barendse (Knowledge Centre for Sport Netherlands), Remko van den Dool (Mulier Institute), Steven de Vries (Primary School Board [PO-Raad]), Teatske Altenburg (Institute for Health and Care Research EMGO+), and Wanda Wendel-Vos (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment [RIVM]). Takken ( is corresponding author.