Italians smoking less, getting fatter

Family habits have big influence

(ANSA) - Rome, July 26 - Italians may be ditching the smoking habit, but they are also doing less physical activity and sport which is leading to a growing obesity problem, a survey by national statistics agency ISTAT showed on Tuesday.
    The study found that a combination of laziness and obesity is a new health risk for 52% of Italians. The role of families in promoting healthy lifestyles is critical: 30.2% of young people up to the age of 24 who live with parents who smoke also smoke themselves, while only 11.9% of young people who live with non-smoking parents take up the habit.
    A total of 48.4% of young people are sedentary if their parents are as well (compared to 7.7% of those whose parents are not sedentary). Similar data can be found for being overweight and consuming more than moderate intake of alcohol.
    On the smoking front, 19.6% of Italians over 14 years of age say they are smokers, 22.8% say they have smoked in the past and 56.3% say they have never smoked. About 15% of women say they smoke compared to 24.6% of men.
    On the weight front, 45.1% of the adult population weighs an excessive amount (35.3% are overweight and 9.8% are obese).
    About 51.8% of people are in the normal weight range and 3.0% are underweight.
    A total of 15.7% of the population consume levels of alcohol which exceed health authority recommendations. Excessive alcohol consumption rates are higher among over-65s and young people between the ages of 18-24.
    In 2015, 39.9% of the population said they did not practice any sport or physical activity. The sedentary rate stood at 44.3% for women and 35.1% for men.