(ANSA) - Rome, January 15 - Nearly one in every four
children (23%) in Italy do not exercise or play sports, warned a
study presented in Rome on Wednesday.
The director of the Italian office of Save the Children,
Valerio Neri, said "Italian children do not get enough exercise
and eat badly. The situation is serious and has got worse due to
the crisis. This should worry all of us".
The study, conducted by IPSOS for Save the Children and the
Mondelēz International Foundation in Italy, shows that 28% of
the time the reason is the economic situation of their families,
a 13% rise from 2012.
US-based Mondelēz International, Inc is one of the world's
largest snacks companies.
The presentation marked three years of activity of the
project 'Pronti, Partenza, Via!' ('Ready, Set, Go!').
The project aims to encourage physical activity and
healthy-eating education in the outskirts of 10 Italian cities.
Some 70,000 parents and children have been reached thus far
and the project will continue throughout 2014.
Raffaella Milano, Italy-Europe program director for Save
the Children, said that playing fields, green spaces, cycling
paths and other areas had been recovered in order to render them
available to all the area's inhabitants.
The figures show a 2% rise in the number of children not
engaging in any sort of sports activity in their free time.
Some 35% of parents interviewed said that their children
were not interested in sports, while 28% cited the costliness of
Almost half of all parents, 44%, did not engage in any sort
of physical activity either, compared with 32% in 2012%.
Four in 10 children regularly travel by car and only 24%
(30% in 2012) on foot and 9% (11%) by bicycle.
A full 73% of children spend their free time in their
homes, and 47% of those who watch television do so for between
one and three hours every day.
Some 36% of parents (26% in 2012) complain of a lack of
open spaces for children to meet with their friends due to a
slight drop in the availability of sports facilities.
At school, 9% of children do not engage in physical
activity, with no facilities available in 39% of the cases (29%
Most parents say that they know basic healthy-eating
notions but the study found a slight drop in the number of
children and adolescents eating fruit and vegetables at every
meal (35% compared with 37% in 2012) or once a day (35% compared
Some 9% do not have breakfast, but nine out of 10 Italian
families still sit down together for dinner.
Neri warned that children tend not to go outside to play
and that if they play sports, they do it in ''a militaristic
Only one in every 10 parents admit that their child is
Mondelez's Corporate Affairs Southern Europe director
Stefano Robba stressed the importance of "promoting healthy
lifestyles, physical activity, balance and psychological
well-being, as well as attention to food choices".