Major Differences in Diet across Three Linguistic Regions of Switzerland: Results from the First National Nutrition Survey menuCH

Nutrients. 2017 Oct 25;9(11):1163. doi: 10.3390/nu9111163.


Switzerland is a multilingual country located between Germany, France and Italy, which differ by dietary habits and related outcomes. We explored differences in food consumption as well as compliance to the Swiss food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) across the German-, French-, and Italian-speaking regions. The 2014-2015 nationwide cross-sectional survey was conducted among a stratified random sample of 2057 adults aged 18 to 75 years. Trained dietitians assessed food consumption via two non-consecutive 24-h dietary recalls using the international validated software GloboDiet®. Recorded foods and beverages were classified into six groups and 31 subgroups relevant for assessing compliance to the FBDG (Swiss Food Pyramid). Usual daily intake distributions were modelled and weighted for sampling design, non-response, weekdays and season. Participation rate was 38%. Significant differences across regions were observed in 18 of 31 food subgroups (p ≤ 0.01). Weighted mean daily intakes in the German-, French- and Italian-speaking regions were, respectively, 245 g, 155 g, 140 g for soft drinks, 273 g, 214 g, 135 g for coffee, 127 g, 72 g, 109 g for milk, 32 g, 45 g, 43 g for red meat, 18 g, 29 g, 34 g for fish/seafood, 8.1 g, 6.4 g, 3.7 g for butter, and 206 g, 214 g, 168 g for vegetables. The seven FBDGs were followed by <1% of the population. Four in 10 participants met ≥3 FBDG. Eighteen percent of participants ate ≥5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, without regional differences. Food consumption substantially differed across the three linguistic regions of Switzerland. Adherence to FBDG was uniformly low. This highlights the potential influence of culture on diet. Nutritional education along with public health interventions are needed and may be most efficient if regionally targeted.

Keywords: 24-h dietary recall; GloboDiet®/EPIC-Soft®; Swiss adults; food consumption; food-based dietary guidelines; national nutrition survey.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / ethnology*
  • Diet Records
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult