The Dutch eat more healthily than Italians

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The Dutch eat more healthily than Italians
Italy ranks eighth in the Oxfam survey when it comes to offering a "healthy, plentiful and affordable diet". Photo: The Ewan/Flickr

Italians might pride themselves on having a healthy and balanced diet but it is, in fact, the Dutch who have the best diet in the world, according to a new report from Oxfam, a UK charity that fights against poverty.


Italy ranks eighth in the world, tying with Australia, Portugal and Luxembourg, when it comes to offering residents a healthy diet, according to Oxfam's global food index called "Good Enough to Eat".

The Netherlands offers the healthiest diet, with France and Switzerland coming joint second.

The survey was not, however, based on the quality of tomatoes, grapes or Italy's prized olive oil, but on the availability of a healthy, plentiful and affordable diet.

The Netherlands came top because food is relatively low cost there and diabetes is less common.

European countries dominated the top of the rankings, while the United Kingdom came 13th in the index of 125 countries, scoring badly due to the volatility of food prices, and the US came 21st.

“Poverty and inequality are the real drivers of hunger. Hunger happens where governance is poor, distribution weak, when markets fail,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam's international executive director, said in a statement.

“Having sufficient healthy and affordable food is not something that much of the world enjoys.”

The index was based on how affordable, available and of what quality food and dietary health is in each of the nations. It also weighed up the percentage of malnourished children, the diversity of food as well as food-related health problems like diabetes and obesity.

Oxfam looked at four main criteria: Do people have enough to eat? Can they afford to eat? Is the food of good quality? and What are the results of unhealthy diets?

The bottom 30 places in the rankings were occupied by African countries, with Chad winding up at the bottom of the list because of its high food prices and an elevated number of malnourished children.

Reuters reported the index figures shows, despite there being enough food, 840 million people go hungry each day. Oxfam said the world food production and distribution system is due for a major overhaul.

Oxfam’s data came from October and December 2013 using the latest information from the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Foundation, the International Labour Organization and other international organizations, Reuters reported.

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