Thursday, November 25, 2004

The not so bella figura

Despite the much-vaunted Mediterranean diet and the importance to Italians of presenting a “bella figura” (cutting a fine figure), surveys show that most Italian children are as addicted as their counterparts in other Western societies to crisps, snacks and fizzy drinks.
Sixty per cent of all Italian children under the age of eighteen are overweight, a figure which has doubled “in four or five years”, says Letizia Moratti, Minister of Education.
(The Times)
A typical Italian diet (if we ignore the big differences between the regions) is high in calories because of the reliance on cheap carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes) and big portions. I have eaten meals in Italy where there are two pasta courses followed by meat and potatoes and then dessert (usually piles of pastries from the local baker) and I am constantly surprised at the portion size in restaurants. This type of diet combined with a sedentary lifestyle is bad news.

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