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Stress and unhealthy living: the Swiss take a health check

Stress levels are soaring in Switzerland. The Swiss are also reportedly getting fatter, are eating too much junk food and are not getting enough exercise.

This content was published on March 29, 2000 - 12:22

Stress levels are soaring in Switzerland. The Swiss are also reportedly getting fatter, are eating too much junk food and are not getting enough exercise.

The Swiss Foundation for the Promotion of Health has released the worrying report, and has launched two national campaigns to convert people to a healthier lifestyle.

The study shows that people from French and Italian-speaking parts of the country exercise the least.

"One third of the people living in Switzerland suffer from stress, while another third suffer from pressure. Thirty to 44 year-olds are especially affected, women slightly more than men, probably because of the double load of work and family," says Felix Küchler from the foundation.

Pollution is also a factor in the declining health levels. More than half of the population is also not getting enough exercise, even though most people are aware of the beneficial effects of keeping fit.

Logically, it would seem people under pressure from work and family commitments do not have the time to go to their local fitness centre. However, Felix Küchler argues that people should work exercise into their every day activities.

"For instance, if you use the stairs instead of taking the lift, or you could meet friends for a walk instead of going to the pub with them," he suggests.

The aim of the two campaigns launched by the foundation is to get people out of their armchairs and eating correctly to stem the rise of stress levels.

The first is called "Feel your Power" and sets out to increase the feel-good factor that comes from being healthy. The second campaign, "Dr Lucifer", uses reverse psychology.

Dr Lucifer provides advice on how to get sick. For instance, he advises people against eating fruit, vegetables and salad, and tells them not to jog, walk or take the stairs.

The only danger is that the Dr Lucifer campaign may actually sound tempting for those already living a unhealthy lifestyle.

By Samantha Tonkin

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