stage img
  • Swiss statistics

Eat up! – Swiss people are piling on the kilos



The hunger pangs arrive, and the fridge beckons. This was a commonplace story throughout 2020, and one with weighty consequences. A study by the University of St. Gallen found that Swiss people put on an average of 3.3 kilogrammes – or as much as 6.7 kilogrammes for those in the 45–64 age bracket.


It might not be tactful to pursue these calculations further. Nevertheless... if every one of the 8,655,118 people in Switzerland gained 3.3 kilogrammes in a year, how much heavier did the population as a whole become? The answer is 28,560 tonnes. If the Swiss Abroad were equally peckish, that would mean another 2,550 tonnes.


Of course, a heavier population is not necessarily a healthier one. The authorities and the food industry are therefore looking for ways to reduce sugar consumption in Switzerland. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends limiting sugar intake to no more than 50 grammes a day. However, daily consumption in Switzerland averages 110 grammes – one of the downsides that comes with the country’s love of chocolate.


Of course, all of the above cannot be understood without the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a decrease in movement and poorer nutrition. And the pandemic also resulted in a reduction in life expectancy. Figures from the Federal Statistical Office indicate that male life expectancy fell by around one year to 81 years in 2020. Such a fall is without precedent since 1944. The equivalent figure for women shrank by half a year to just over 85.


However, life expectancy patterns are not uniform across the country: there are some regions where people live longer than elsewhere. So, where might you want to move to? Answer: Appenzell Innerrhoden, especially if you are female, as the women of this canton have the longest life expectancy (87.3) anywhere in Switzerland.

Chocolate, Christmas treats, sweet drinks... Swiss sugar consumption is well above the limits set by the World Health Organization. Photo: Keystone