Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

National survey How healthy are the Swiss?

Empty bottles of alcohol sit on a wall

Binge drinking among teenagers and young adults, especially women, has become commonplace, according to the 2017 Swiss Health Survey


Overall, the Swiss drink much less alcohol every day than they did 25 years ago – with the exception of the over-65s. But among teenagers and young adults, especially women, binge drinking has become commonplace, a new health survey reveals. 

These are just several of the findings from the 2017 Swiss Health Surveyexternal link, an in-depth evaluation of the nation’s health and behaviour, which has been published by the Federal Statistics Office every five years since 1992.

According to the office, the percentage of adults drinking alcohol every day has nearly halved over the past 25 years, going from 20% to 11%. In all, 82% of the population regularly enjoy a glass of wine or beer, but drink less often.

However, this is not the case for all age groups. Among the over-65s, 26% said they drank alcohol every day last year, compared to 29% in 1992. 

Meanwhile, binge drinking – consuming numerous glasses of alcohol over a short period of time – is commonplace among young people and adults up to the age of 34, office said.

The percentage of people drinking five (for men) or four (for women) glasses of an alcoholic beverage within a few hours at least once a month increased from 19% in 2007 to 24% in 2017. And among women aged 15 to 24, binge drinking almost doubled over the same period from 12% to 24%. 

While the number of smokers fell between 1997 to 2007 and the amount of tobacco consumed has fallen, over the past ten years the percentage of smokers has remained stable at around 27%.

Feeling healthy

The majority (85%) of the population aged 15 or over say they are in good or very good health, though. Among the over-75s this figure stood at 67%. The most common health problems for the elderly were high blood pressure (47%), high cholesterol levels (32%) and diabetes (11%).

Prioritising a healthy lifestyle and practicing a sport have become fashionable, the statistical office said. The percentage of men who have never smoked in their lives rose from 38% to 45% between 1997 and 2017. Since 2002, the number of people who are physically active has increased from 62% to 76% and the number of inactive people has fallen from 18% to 8%. Women are increasingly physically active, according to the survey.

At the same time, the Swiss seem to be more concerned by what they eat. Two-thirds of the population said they paid attention to their diet and 21% said they satisfied the dietary recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption. Around two-thirds of the population eat meat four times a week maximum. 

Last year, the share of people classified as overweight (body mass index (BMI) 25 to 30) was the same as in 2012 at 42% of the population. Over the last 25 years, the percentage of obese people (BMI>30) has more than doubled, going from 5% in 1992 to 11% in 2017.


Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line

The citizens' meeting

How the Swiss are moving back to the mountains

How the Swiss are moving back to the mountains

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

Click here to see more newsletters