Despite new advances in healthcare, people in the United States are living shorter lives. According to a 2017 study by the Centers for Disease control, last year marked the first time that a younger generation had a shorter projected lifespan than their parents. In part, these projected shorter lifespans are due to unhealthy diets, sedentary lifestyles, and an unhealthy change in living habits. However, these choices are not universal; despite a slight decrease in the lifespan of U.S. citizens, some countries like Switzerland show increased life expectancy in recent years. What’s the secret of success for the Swiss? This guide explores several differences in lifestyle and environment between U.S. and Swiss citizens.

In the United States, many cities and suburbs are built for drivers. Cities like Atlanta have minimal public transportation, and it’s almost impossible to survive without a car. In addition, few cities are built with bicycle paths or sidewalks. Because of this, many people find it difficult to enough exercise by walking everyday.

In comparison, Switzerland has a well developed public transportation system. It’s possible to travel to almost any city in Switzerland without a vehicle. When you arrive in these cities, you can travel to almost any destination by light rail, bus or by walking.

Pedestrian-oriented environments are a key part of life in Switzerland. Every aspect of society is designed for those who walk. Many cities have limited parking for vehicles, since walking is one of the easiest ways to get to a destination.

In addition, there are vast differences in dietary habits between those in the U.S. and Switzerland. While there are lots of fast food restaurants in the states, these are less common in Switzerland. Instead of fast food, many people prefer to eat at home or in traditional restaurants. Because of this, it’s more difficult to grab a burger or french fries in many parts of Switzerland. This encourages healthy eating for many.

Healthy foods are also more convenient for many people in Switzerland. Instead of running to the nearest supermarket for fresh vegetables, fruit, and other produce, many people in Switzerland have corner stores near their homes that provide these goods. In comparison, most corner stores in the United States only stock basic items such as preserved foods, candy, crackers, and other unhealthy snacks. When combined with healthier, active lifestyles, the dietary choices in Switzerland play a contribution in their increased lifespans.