In the context of the first representative Swiss national health survey, the relationship between social inequality and health behavior was assessed in 3419 Swiss citizens. Social inequality was measured by an indicator model including occupational position and education. Utilization of preventive services was better among women than men, a trend not dependent on social class. Women of lower social position and education used cervical screening services less often. Unskilled men made less use of preventive services offered. Health behavior was better in women than in men, independently of social class. Working women had significantly worse health attitudes than housewives. Among males, unskilled workers' and white collar employees' consumption of alcohol and tobacco was highest. In both sexes overweight was highly correlated with a low occupational position and low educational level.