In the context of the first Swiss National Health Survey preventive health behaviour was tested in 3419 Swiss citizens aged over 20 years. A health behaviour index including favourable health attitudes and good utilization of preventive health services was correlated with different social indicators. Age, sex and a good self-rated health were the most important factors associated with a high preventive health behaviour score. Education showed a less strong but also significant influence on positive health behaviour. Overall utilization of health services decreased with high preventive health behavior index.