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Immigrants smoke less, healthier than Italians

13% have trouble communicating with doctors, says Istat

30 January, 18:14
Immigrants smoke less, healthier than Italians (ANSA) - Rome, January 30 - Foreigners living in Italy smoke less and are in better shape than Italians, a new survey by Istat national statistics bureau showed Thursday.

At least 87.5% of foreign respondents said they enjoy good or excellent health, against 83.5% of Italians.

The Chinese topped that list at 90.2%, followed by Filipinos (90.2%), Indians (88.8%) and Poles (88.4%). Ukrainians (85.8%) and Moroccans (85.2%) were less likely to report being in good health. On the lifestyle front, 23.2% of foreign respondents aged 14 and above said they are habitual smokers, against 25.8% of Italians.

As with the native population, the habit is more prevalent among men (32.4%) than women (15.1%). Indians, Filipinos and Chinese are the least likely to smoke.

Almost a third of foreigners, or 30.9%, is overweight and 7.8% are obese, mirroring the Italian rates (29.8% and 7.8%). At least 57.5% of foreigners go to the doctor for checkups.

Women are more likely to go to the doctor than men (59.6% against 53.9%), as are kids under 14 (62.9%).

Moroccans and Tunisians are more likely to go to the emergency room, and the Chinese are the least likely to do so, the report said.

However, 13.8% of foreigners have trouble explaining their complaints to doctors and 14.9% said they have trouble understanding what the doctor says.

The language barrier is highest for women, people aged over 54, and the Chinese, Indian, and Filipino communities.

Another 13% of immigrants, especially those from China and India, said they have trouble dealing with bureaucracy in order to access health care.