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Food for thought


Swiss given poor marks for diet




Calorie intake among the Swiss hasn't changed much over the past 30 years - but levels of activity have, and not for the better (Keystone)

Calorie intake among the Swiss hasn't changed much over the past 30 years - but levels of activity have, and not for the better

(Keystone)

The Swiss eat too much fatty food, too few vegetables and don’t move enough. These are the conclusions of the government’s sixth Swiss Nutrition Report, published on Tuesday.

People aren’t adequately aware of the importance of a balanced diet, according to the report, which is published every seven years.

Since the previous report in 2005, the consumption of ready-made and convenience food – which contain high amounts of fat, salt and sugar – had greatly increased, it said.

Overall, the use of fat and oil had gone up by five per cent, the same as sugar and honey. On the other hand, fruit and vegetable consumption had dropped by seven and six per cent respectively.

Hardly any change had been noted in the consumption of meat, dairy products, cereals and potatoes.

The energy intake among the Swiss – in the form of calories – has not changed much over the past 30 years, but since people are not as active, the number of overweight and obese people remains at a constantly high level, the report said.

Both adults and children are effected. Some 46 per cent of adult men and 20 per cent of adult women are overweight or obese.

Consequences

The report said consequences of poor nutrition include diabetes, cancer and heart problems. Around 90 per cent of cases of diabetes are caused by overweight.

“The increase in nutrition-related diseases is one of the causes of the high health costs in Switzerland,” said Interior Minister Alain Berset at the publication of the report in Bern.

Heart problems remain the main cause of death in Switzerland: every year 30,000 people have a heart attack and 12,500 people a stroke. A balanced diet would significantly lower the risks.

Berset said people in Switzerland had to be able to inform themselves objectively about healthy eating.

Food packaging was often confusing, admitted the head of the Federal Health Office, Pascal Strupler, adding that measures had been introduced to help improve labelling.

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