Government survey shows Swiss aren’t eating enough dairy

Switzerland is working on a nutrition strategy, but a recent survey in the country reveals the Swiss eat more meat than recommended, and less dairy. Pic: ©iStock/Alter_photo

Switzerland may be famous for its cheese, but a government survey looking at the nation’s nutrition strategy finds its residents aren’t eating enough dairy.

The menuCH study was set up to identify what the Swiss eat too much of – clearly meat – and too little of as the government develops the Swiss Nutrition Strategy 2017-2024.

The survey also revealed that 71% of respondents eat outside at noon and that the younger cook more often than the elderly, especially at night.

In Switzerland, meat consumption per person per week is on average 780g, while the recommended quantity is 240g. Men consume almost twice as much meat as women (980g vs 570g).

The consumption of sweets and salted snacks is four times higher than recommended, and for fat (butter, margarine, cream, sauces), four times higher.

And while it doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference, 77% of respondents have heard about the nutrition recommendations developed jointly by the Swiss Nutrition Society and the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs.

Too few dairy products

The average quantity of vegetable oils and nuts consumed corresponds to half of the recommended amount, but it’s in dairy where the results fall short.

In Switzerland as a whole, the average consumption of milk and dairy products is two portions per day instead of three, although it is higher in German-speaking Switzerland when compared to the Latin regions.

Frequent meals outside

Respondents also provided information on their eating habits and physical activity. Almost half (47%) reported taking regular dietary supplements, such as vitamin and mineral supplements.

Many Swiss people, 71%, say they eat outdoors at noon. On average, 35% of respondents never cook at noon; this is the case for almost half of men (45%).

However, only one person in five (19%) said they never cook in the evening.

Nutrition strategy

The data collected are used to identify groups or modes of food at risk and to assess the quantities of undesirable substances absorbed through food. The government hopes the data will also be used to correct dietary habits in Switzerland.

About 2,000 adults across Switzerland were interviewed about their eating habits for menuCH. The Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Lausanne carried out the survey on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). 

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