03-06-2009 13:37

ROME, March 3 (Xinhua) -- Italians have been getting fatter and lazier in recent years, said an annual report published on Tuesday by the National Observatory of Health in Italian Regions.

The number of people who are overweight grew continuously in the past three years, rising from 33.5 percent of the population in 2005 to 35 percent in 2008, the report said. The rates of obesity followed a similar pattern, affecting 10.2 percent of the population in 2008.

Southern Italy has been worst hit by the trend, with Basilicata registering 40.4 percent of residents overweight and Campania 39.8 percent.

The report said the results come from poor diet, specifically an increase in the consumption of sweets, snacks and alcohol, as well as lack of exercise.

The number of Italians who said they usually do exercise dropped from 20.9 percent of the population in 2007 to 20.5 percent in 2008, according to the report.

During the past three years, smoking has been also on the rise, it said, with the number of men from 28.3 percent in 2007 to 28.8 percent in 2008, and the number of women from 16.2 percent to 17 percent.

The report also said the disparity between southern and northern Italy was partly a result of regional health care quality and prevention campaigns.

It noted major differences in health spending per capita, from 1,581 euros (about 1,994 U.S. dollars) in Calabria in the south to 2,200 euros in Bolzano in the north.

Average regional spending had nevertheless increased between 2006 and 2007, rising from 1,692 euros to 1,731 euros, the report said. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.79271 euros)

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Editor:Yang Jie