When it comes to diet/nutrition it is often difficult to decide between healthy, balanced food with a normal calorie content and food that is tasty and enjoyable. What is often forgotten is that the two are easily combined, that the amount is important too, and that habits play a large part. In Switzerland, one-fifth to half of the population is tendentially overweight, depending on their age. In adolescents, underweight as a result of anorexia or bulimia is also relevant, and, in rarer cases, malnutrition due to an inadequate diet—for example in older people.
When more calories are ingested than used up an energy surplus may result. If someone’s BMI rises to above 25 kg/m2, initial detrimental effects on their health can be measured; if the BMI rises to above 30 kg/m2, these effects become pronounced. The risk for cardiovascular disease (including stroke, dementia, and myocardial infarction) increases, as does the risk for diabetes, joint problems, and even certain cancers. Combined with other risk factors, drastic overweight shortens a person’s life expectancy by several years. In addition, the overweight person will experience psychological stress as a result of stigmatisation and lower self-esteem compared with people of normal weight.
In addition to exercise, surgical approaches, and medication measures, diet/nutrition is a crucial element for health and weight stabilisation. A Mediterranean diet, for example, not only reduces cardiocirculatory risks but also helps stabilise weight in the long term.
The recently developed advisory programme (“A Tavola”) is fit for practice and can, in combination with health/wellness coaching, provide an entry point into healthier eating habits in the long term. More specific advice in complex diet-related disorders are offered by dieticians.
Coming soon: A Tavola
There is a multitude of providers of dietary/nutritional advice/tips, and a fully fledged vocational training programme exists. We therefore restrict our overview to two links.
- Swiss Society for Nutrition SGE, with brochures and a test: www.sge-snn.ch
- Useful tips for adolescents and anorexia test: www.feel-ok.ch