Health institute warns of rising overweight in Italy

  • World
  • Tuesday, 05 Mar 2024

ROME, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The percentage of the overweight population is slowly on the rise in Italy, especially in the poorer southern region, according to the latest data released Monday by the country's High Institute for Health (ISS).

Italy has long been among the healthiest countries in the world, with a life expectancy of 84.2 years in 2023, one of the best rates in the world, according to Worldometers. However, the ISS data showed that 43 percent of the country's population was "overweight" or "obese" between 2021 and 2022.

The majority of those with weight issues in Italy are classified as "overweight," which is defined by the World Health Organization as those with a "condition of excessive fat deposits." That category accounts for 32.6 percent of the population, nearly one person in three.

According to ISS data, the problem is more acute in the poorer southern parts of the country. Seven of Italy's 21 regions or autonomous provinces are seen as pushing up the national averages in at least one of the weight-related categories, and all of them are in the south.

The ISS data was released to mark World Obesity Day on Monday. Media reports said changes in diet to include more processed food, and more sedentary lifestyles are contributing to the trend.

The Mediterranean-style diet popular in the country, which emphasizes plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats, has long been regarded as a major factor in helping Italians keep fit.

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