The percentage of obese and overweight people in Switzerland has increased considerably since 1992. The percentage increased from 30.4% (1992) to 41.9% (2017). This increase can be observed among both men and women. In 2017, considerably more men (51.0%) are overweight or obese than women (33.0%).
This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
Being overweight and especially obesity (severe overweight) are risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer and musculoskeletal diseases. There is also an association with mental health and quality of life. Being overweight usually occurs due to an imbalance between the intake and output of energy. A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and enough exercise are very important in this respect, but other factors such as stress, lack of sleep, consumption of medication, hormonal balance and a genetic disposition towards overweight or obesity also play a role.
The indicator allows observation of the BMI as a measurement of being overweight and obesity as well as the planning and assessment of preventive measures.
This indicator was calculated on the basis of data from the Swiss Health Survey. It shows the percentage of overweight and obese people aged 15 and over living in private households grouped according to their body-mass-index (BMI). The pie chart also shows the distribution of the four BMI groups (see below for criteria) in the population.
The body-mass index is calculated by dividing body weight (in kilograms) by height (in metres) squared. BMI = body weight in kg / (height in m)2. The data shown here are based on information provided by the people interviewed.
To divide people into the four different BMI groups, the BM14 index was applied. For people aged 18 and over, the following WHO standard values were applied.
- Underweight: BMI < 18.5
- Normal weight: 18.5 ≤ BMI < 25
- Overweight: 25 ≤ BMI < 30
- Obesity (severe overweight): BMI ≥30
Young people aged 15 to 17 were divided into groups according to Cole et al. (2000). This method has been used in many international analyses to classify the weights of children and young people and makes a distinction between BMI threshold values dependent on age and sex.
Care should be taken when applying BMI to elderly persons. Weight calculated as normal on the basis of BMI may reveal undernutrition in some cases.
An explanation of socio-demographic variables can be found in the document: Dimension description
Sources, references and further information
- Cole Time J., Mary C. Bellizzi, Katherine M. Flegal, William H. Dietz (2000): Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. British Medical Journal, 320 (7244): 1240-1243.
- WHO (Body Mass Index Classification)