One in four Italian children ‘overweight or obese’: study

Some 25 percent of all children in Italy are overweight or obese, according to a new study by national statistics agency Istat.

One in four Italian children 'overweight or obese': study
Photo: DepositPhotos

The report found 2.13 million children and young people between the ages of three and 17 years old are overweight or obese.

Of those, two million “do not play sport or do any other form of exercise,” the study's authors wrote.

The report said that, while 74.2 percent of Italian children eat fruit and vegetables every day, only 12.6 percent have the recommended four or more portions.

READ ALSO: Why are so many Italian children overweight?

Meanwhile, a quarter of Italian children consume sweets and fizzy drinks every day.

The study found geographical differences in the results, with childhood obesity more likely in the south of the country. The lowest levels were found in the north-west of Italy (18.8 percent) while in Campania the figure was 35.4 percent.

The study also pointed out that Italy has one the highest levels of obesity among children aged seven-to-eight years old in Europe.

Some 18 percent of children in Italy and Spain were found to be obese. The only country which recorded higher levels of childhood obesity was Cyprus, with 20 percent.


In total around one in ten Italians are obese, according to figures from the OECD, while a further 22 million Italians are overweight.

Italian dieticians are calling for an end to discrimination against obese people, stressing that obesity should be recognised as “a disease and not an aesthetic problem.”

“So far preventative interventions have proved ineffective because they are based on the paradigm of personal responsibility… in reality, obesity is a complex condition that derives from the interaction of genetic, psychological and environmental factors,” stated Dr. Giuseppe Fatati, president of the Italian Obesity Network.

READ ALSO: Seven reasons why living in Italy can be bad for your health

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Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020

Coronavirus cut average life expectancy in Italy by 1.2 years in 2020, and by more than four years in parts of the country hit hardest by the pandemic, official statistics showed on Monday.

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020
A cemetery in Bergamo, one of the parts of Italy which has suffered the highest death toll during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

“In 2020, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019,” it said in a statement.

For many years Italy has boasted one of the longest life expectancies in Europe. But with the spread of the coronavirus, its ageing population was especially vulnerable to falling sick.

Italy has recorded close to 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, which have mainly been among the elderly.


The drop in life expectancy was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.

More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36 percent of the population lives.

According to Istat, the pandemic has wiped out many of the gains made year-on-year since 2010, when Italy’s average life expectancy was 81.7.

Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation’s economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.

Quality of life has also been impacted in Italy, particulary due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.

The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had almost 72 percent of the population over 12 fully immunised.

Italy has set a target of vaccinating at least 80 percent of the population by the end of September.