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Swiss are healthy but challenges remain

The Swiss generally enjoy good health and receive reliable health care when they are ill, according to the national health report for 2008, published on Thursday.

But the study, compiled by the Swiss Health Observatory, also finds that there are shortcomings and challenges.

One of these is the uneven distribution of health across the population, which, the report notes, is mainly attributable to the level of education and income.

It finds that another challenge is the increase in the number of mental disorders and chronic illnesses.

The report explains that this is due, among other factors, to the ageing population, living conditions and the individual behaviour of the people concerned.

Switzerland, with Finland and Sweden, is one of the first European countries to publish a comprehensive report on national health. It serves not only to give details of the state of the health of the country's inhabitants, but also to determine which social factors can steer future health policy.