Diet and exercise at international level

Chronic diseases affect a growing proportion of the world’s population. A lack of exercise and poor diet are two of the major causes. In this area, Switzerland gears its approach to that of WHO and implements certain global initiatives.  

Switzerland adapts WHO’s global strategy

The Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health defines a broad conceptual framework that requires WHO regions and member states to draw up national strategies and action plans. The corresponding resolution was approved by the Federal Council in May 2004 and the WHO strategy has been adapted to Switzerland within the National strategy on the prevention of non-communicable diseases.

WHO Europe initiatives and implementation in Switzerland  

In line with the global strategy, WHO’s regional office for Europe has initiated several projects in which Switzerland plays an active role and from which it takes on board the relevant conclusions.  

  • European Charter on Counteracting Obesity. Signed in 2006 by 53 countries including Switzerland, this charter requires governments to reinforce measures to fight obesity.

  • HEPA Europe is the European network for the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity. It encourages people in the WHO European region to adopt healthy lifestyles, in particular by doing physical activity. Switzerland funded and hosted HEPA Europe’s annual meeting in Zurich in 2014.

  • Transport-Health-Environment Paneuropean Program – The PEP promotes transport policies that take into account health and environmental concerns. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) took part in the high-level ministerial meeting in Paris in 2014 and supports specific projects to promote soft mobility.

  • Health Economic Assessment Tools – HEAT is a tool designed for transport planners. It allows them to evaluate measures to promote walking and cycling. In Switzerland, the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) used it as part of a study on soft mobility. The FOPH helped develop HEAT.

  • In 2015, Switzerland supported and participated in a WHO expert meeting at the University of Zurich to develop the first global strategy on physical activity.

European Union

Switzerland also takes into account the European Commission’s White Paper, which calls on shops and canteens to offer a wide choice of food, urges the food industry to reduce the amount of salt, sugar and fat in its products, and encourages people to take more exercise. 

Last modification 30.09.2019

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