Current Situation in Switzerland

Life expectancy of Swiss citizens has fortunately increased to over 80 years. At the same time 2.2 million people suffer from chronic diseases. A quarter of those patients has to cope with multiple medical conditions at the same time.
It is expected that these numbers will rise in the years to come. Additionally, increasingly younger people are being diagnosed with chronic diseases (esp. obesity and diabetes type 2).

Even though adequate lifestyle could prevent between 30% and 95% of chronic diseases, only 2.2 % of all health related expenses were spent on prevention in Switzerland in 2013. At the same time chronic diseases entail 80% of all direct health related costs.

Only 6.7% of people surveyed in Switzerland indicated to routinely cultivate five health-promoting habits (physical activity, adequate nutrition, enough sleep, no smoking, limited alcohol consumption). This small percentage aligns with the observation made by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) that people have considerable difficulties understanding and evaluating information related to disease prevention. Examples of commonly faced problems are judging the trustworthiness of information presented in the media, weighing different treatment options or understanding the nutritional information on packaged foods. According to FOPH, improvement of population-wide health competencies could mitigate the existing problems.


Koch, D., de Falco, A. A., Von Greyerz, S., Leutwyler, S., & Abel, B. (2016). Nationale Strategie Prävention nichtübertragbarer Krankheiten (NCD-Strategie) 2017–2024. In Bern: Bundesamt für Gesundheit (BAG) und Schweizerische Konferenz der kantonalen Gesundheitsdirektorinnen und-direktoren (GDK).
Marques, A., Peralta, M., Martins, J., Loureiro, V., Almanzar, P. C., & de Matos, M. G. (2019). Few european adults are living a healthy lifestyle. American Journal of Health Promotion, 33(3), 391-398.
Moreau-­Gruet, F. (2013). Multimorbidität bei Personen ab 50 Jahren. Ergebnisse der Befragung SHARE (Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe) (Obsan Bulletin 4/2013). Neuchâtel: Schweizerisches Gesundheitsobservatorium