Non-communicable diseases

Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes are currently the most common cause of deaths worldwide, and account for around 75 percent of deaths in Switzerland.


"Our aim is to form a resolute alliance for effective prevention in the area of non-communicable diseases."

Seven questions for Pascal Strupler. According to the Swiss Health Report recently published by the Swiss Health Observatory Obsan, the Swiss population is by and large in good health. Life expectancy in our country is the second highest in the world after Japan. However, the fact that people are living longer is creating some major challenges for the Swiss health service. Chronic disorders such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and dementia are becoming more prevalent. Health promotion and prevention are taking on an increasingly important role because many of these conditions are influenced by the individual's lifestyle – by factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and the amount of physical activity we get. How is the Federal Office of Public Health facing up to this challenge? We asked its Director, Pascal Strupler. more


Five years of effective legal protection against passive smoking

Tobacco control. Five years ago, on 1 May 2010, the Federal Act on Protection against Passive Smoking came into force. It had been preceded by years of debate, some of it highly controversial. Today people take a calmer view. Smoking bans cause little discussion nowadays, and smoke-free pubs and restaurants have become the norm. What's more, the law is extremely effective. more


At first hand

Editorial Pascal Strupler. Even just a few decades ago, communicable diseases were the main threat to the lives of our parents and grandparents. They have now been contained or eliminated, thanks to advances in research and medicine and to socio-political measures. Nowadays, most deaths are the result of non-communicable conditions – cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are the major threats to our health. We are living longer, but in our final years we are increasingly likely to develop these diseases. more


For a society in which a balanced diet and sufficient physical activity are taken for granted

National Nutrition and Physical Activity Programme. The Swiss government, the cantons and Health Promotion Switzerland are cooperating in a broadly based national programme to promote a balanced diet and sufficient level of physical activity. The long-term aim is to prevent chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Interim report on progress at the half-way point. more


The Swiss government is drawing up two forward-looking strategies for the prevention of addiction and non-communicable diseases

Strategies. Non-communicable diseases are currently the most common cause of deaths worldwide. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, 74.6 percent of deaths among men and 75.9 percent among women in Switzerland in 2011 were due to four groups of non-communicable diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and dementia. The Swiss government and the cantons are currently working together to draw up a national strategy for the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Tackling the phenomenon of addiction on a more comprehensive basis is the primary objective of the National Strategy on Addiction that is being drawn up in response to a mandate of the Swiss government, to be completed by spring 2015. The overriding goal is to secure a comprehensive and integrated package of addiction management services that includes medical care, harm reduction, counselling and treatment and promotes the social (re-)integration and health rehabilitation of addicts. The National Strategy on Addiction will guarantee continuity and also define a framework for action across all kinds of addiction. The two new strategies will replace the national programmes on alcohol, tobacco, drugs and diet & physical activity, which finish at the end of 2016. more


"More than half of all non-communicable diseases could be prevented by a healthy lifestyle."

Five questions to Eva Bruhin. Non-communicable diseases are now the number-one cause of death worldwide. The increase is due primarily to lifestyle changes. Eva Bruhin, Head, Administrative Office of the "National Strategy on Non-communicable Diseases" at the Federal Office of Public Health, talks about the goals of this strategy. more


Achieving a balanced diet with the interactive food pyramid

Online food pyramid. The Swiss food pyramid and the plate model show at a glance what a healthy, balanced diet for an adult looks like. These two established models can now be accessed online as interactive graphics. more


Non-communicable diseases – a "slow motion disaster"

Non-communicable diseases. Cancer, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes mellitus: non-communi­cable diseases are now the number-one cause of death all over the world. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan described the spread of these diseases as a "slow motion disaster" and one of the biggest health challenges of the future. more


Little change on Switzerland's nutrition front

6th Swiss Nutrition Report. The typical inhabitant of Switzerland continues to eat too much sweet and salty food and too little fruit and vegetables, despite being aware of the most important recommendations on a healthy diet. Excessive bodyweight is still one of the country's most serious health problems. The availability of data on the nutritional status of the Swiss continues to be unsatisfactory. These are some of the findings of the 6th Swiss Nutrition Report, which, along with the Swiss Nutrition Policy 2013–2016, was unveiled by government minister Alain Berset, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, on 22 January 2013. more


At first hand

Editorial Andrea Arz de Falco. People now live twice as long as they did a hundred years ago. We owe this huge increase in life expectancy to medical progress, advances in the economic and social spheres, better hygiene and education, the development of the social insurance systems, etc. The improvement in our quality of life has also come with changes to our lifestyle and working conditions. more