01.07.2012 Swiss government to continue focus on health promotion and prevention
National prevention programmes. The Swiss government has prolonged the national prevention programmes on tobacco, alcohol and diet & physical activity by four years until 2016.
Non-communicable diseases such as chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disorders, cancer or diabetes are currently the most frequent cause of premature death. Up to 50 per cent of all chronic non-communicable diseases in middle age can be avoided by pursuing a healthy lifestyle. In addition, they generate high healthcare costs and thus impact on society as a whole. The principal risk factors of such conditions are consumption of tobacco, an unbalanced diet, alcohol abuse and lack of exercise. The three national prevention programmes running since 2008, i.e. on tobacco, alcohol and diet & physical activity, are aimed at reducing these risk factors and promoting a healthy lifestyle. They are being implemented in cooperation with other government agencies, the cantons and NGOs and have already brought about progress at a number of levels in the prevention of non-communicable diseases and their negative consequences for society, for instance:
– Improving youth protection against alcohol
– Reducing exposure to second-hand smoke and the number of smokers
– Improving data provision on diet & physical activity by implementing the MOSEB system for monitoring diet & physical activity
– Promoting the availability of healthy food by improving the composition of foodstuffs (less salt, less sugar and healthier fats), in some cases in cooperation with the food industry (e.g. through the "actionsanté" drive for better food and more exercise)
– Improving coordination with the cantons
In spring 2012, the Swiss government decided to extend these three national prevention programmes to the end of 2016. This prolongation was also recommended in the external evaluations of the programmes.
A worthwhile investment for society as whole
By prolonging the national prevention programmes, the Swiss government is safeguarding the continuity of its efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle. The Federal Office of Public Health has been mandated to implement the programmes in close cooperation with other federal agencies, the cantons and various partners in the fields of health, business, education and research. The mandate includes creating scientific bases, providing information and communication with the public, targeted coordination of all players involved and promoting conditions that make it easier for people to lead a healthy lifestyle. The Swiss government will thus be showing the way forward for a future-oriented health policy that focuses on health promotion.