• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat database http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1i&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2008-2012

Survey type:Measured
Age:35-79
Sample size:8710
Area covered:National
References:The Cardiovascular Epidemiological Observatory (OEC) Survey. http://www.cuore.iss.it/fattori/progetto.asp
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1998

Survey type:Measured
Age:35-74
Area covered:National
References:The data is understood to be National WHO Infobase. Ref:Institito Svperiore Di Sanita. Osservatorio epidemiologico cardiovascolare, Personal communication: Andrea Gaggioli and Simona Giampaoli.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2008

Survey type:Measured
Age:7
Sample size:5144
Area covered:National
References:Wijnhoven, T. M. A., van Raaij, J. M. A., Spinelli, A., Rito, A. I., Hovengen, R., Kunesova, M., Starc, G., Rutter, H., Sjöberg, A., Petrauskiene, A., O'Dwyer, U., Petrova, S., Farrugia Sant'Angelo, V., Wauters, M., Yngve, A., Rubana, I.-M. and Breda, J. (2012), WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative 2008: weight, height and body mass index in 6–9-year-old children. Pediatric Obesity. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00090.x
Notes:IOTF International Cut Off
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 2007-2013

Survey type:Measured
Age:8-9
Sample size:95089
Area covered:National
References:Spinelli et al (2019). 'Childhood Severe Obesity in Europe', Obes Facts.12, pp. 244–258. (Data from COSI round 1-3)
Notes:NOTE - this data is from COSI round I, II and III (2007 - 2013) IOTF cut-offs used.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 2001-2002

Survey type:Measured
Age:8-9
Sample size:3076
Area covered:Regional
References:Giacchi M, Lazzeri G, Zani A, Guidoni G, Giallombardo D, Cocco S, Balocchini E, Carlori M, Turrini A, Censi L and Rossi S. (2005). Nutritional surveillance in Tuscany. Nutritional status among 8-9 year-old school children. Journal of Preventative Medicine and Hygiene, 46: 70 - 75
Notes:IOTF International Cut off
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1988-1989

Survey type:Measured
Age:10
Sample size:1081
Area covered:National
References:Bellizzi MC, Horgan GW, Guillaume M, Dietz WH. Prevalence of childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity in Asian and European countries. In: Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence. Editors: Chunming Chen, William H. Dietz. Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series Pediatric Program. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2002.
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by age and education

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by education

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Sample size:Total sample size in EU = 35100 (Age 18+)
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 9 November 2016)
Notes:Less than primary, primary and lower secondary education (levels 0-2) Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (levels 3 and 4) Tertiary education (levels 5-8)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Sample size:Total sample size in EU = 35100 (Age 18+)
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat Database:http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1e&lang=en (last accessed 9 November 2016)
Notes:Less than primary, primary and lower secondary education (levels 0-2) Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education (levels 3 and 4) Tertiary education (levels 5-8)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2010-2013

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18-69
Sample size:151185
Area covered:National
References:STEPS 2010-13. Sovrappeso e obesità in Italia. Available at http://www.epicentro.iss.it/passi/pdf2014/ObesityDay2014PassiPDA.pdf [accessed on 18/05/2015]
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:8-9
Sample size:48426
Area covered:National
References:P. Nardone, M. Bouncristiano and L. Lauria. OKkio alla SALUTE: risultati 2014 sugli stili di vita dei bambini. Available at http://www.salute.gov.it/imgs/C_17_notizie_1899_listaFile_itemName_3_file.pdf (accessed on 18/05/2015)
Cutoffs:Other

Boys, 2003-2004

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:4-7
Sample size:543
Area covered:National
References:Ruiz M, Goldblatt P, Morrison J et al. Impact of Low Maternal Education on Early Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Europe. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2016 Mar 4. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12285. [Epub ahead of print]
Notes:GASPII Birth cohort
Cutoffs:Other

Girls, 2003-2004

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:4-7
Sample size:543
Area covered:National
References:Ruiz M, Goldblatt P, Morrison J et al. Impact of Low Maternal Education on Early Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Europe. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2016 Mar 4. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12285. [Epub ahead of print]
Notes:GASPII Birth cohort
Cutoffs:Other

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2006-2010

Survey type:Self-reported
Sample size:14135
Area covered:National
References:Gallus S, Odone A, Lugo A et al. Overweight and obesity prevalence and determinants in Italy: an update to 2010. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013; 52:677-685
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2012-2013

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:8yrs 29045 9yrs 16502 Both genders
Area covered:National
References:WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. (2018). WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative: overweight and obesity among 6–9-year-old children. Available: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/378865/COSI-3.pdf?ua=1. Last accessed [Accessed 28th Aug 2018].
Notes:WHO cut-offs used.
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 1993-2001

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:44231
Area covered:Regional
References:Celi F, Bini V, De Giorgi G, Molinari D, Faraoni F, Di Stefano G, Bacosi ML, Berioli MG, Contessa G, Falorni A. Epidemiology of overweight and obesity among school children and adolescents in three provinces of central Italy, 1993-2001: study of potential influencing variables. EJCN 2003; 57:1045-1051
Cutoffs:IOTF

Children, 1993-2001

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:44294
Area covered:3 provinces of central Italy
References:Celi F, Bini V, De Giorgi G, Molinari D, Faraoni F, Di Stefano G, Bacosi ML, Berioli MG, Contessa G, Falorni A. Epidemiology of overweight and obesity among school children and adolescents in three provinces of central Italy, 1993-2001: study of potential influencing variables. EJCN 2003; 57:1045-1051
Cutoffs:IOTF

Overweight/obesity by region

Adults, 2010-2013

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18-69
Sample size:151185 (unconfirmed)
Area covered:National
References:STEPS 2010-13. Sovrappeso e obesità in Italia. Available at http://www.epicentro.iss.it/passi/pdf2014/ObesityDay2014PassiPDA.pdf [accessed on 18/05/2015]
Notes:Limited numbers in Campania and Lombardia. Classified in paper as excess weight - this is assumed to be overweight BMI equal or greater than 25.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Boys, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:8-9
Sample size:48426
Area covered:National
References:Okkio all Salute
Cutoffs:Other

Overweight/obesity by age and region

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1u&lang=en (last acces
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1u&lang=en (last acces
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by age and socio-economic group

Adults, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1i&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1i&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Area covered:National
References:Eurostat http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1i&lang=en (last accessed 25.08.20)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Overweight/obesity by socio-economic group

Men, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Sample size:Total sample number in EU: 35100 (Age 18+)
Area covered:National
References:EUROSTAT Database: http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1i&lang=en (last accessed 9 November 2016)
Notes:1st Quintile (lowest income), 5th Quintile (highest income) Please note where data = zero, there were insufficient data.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Women, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18+
Sample size:Total sample number in EU: 35100 (Age 18+)
Area covered:National
References:EUROSTAT Database: http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?dataset=hlth_ehis_bm1i&lang=en (last accessed 9 November 2016)
Notes:1st Quintile (lowest income), 5th Quintile (highest income) Please note where data = zero, there were insufficient data.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 2010-2013

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:18-69
Sample size:151185
Area covered:National
References:STEPS 2010-13
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Boys, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:11-15
Sample size:15035
Area covered:National
References:Lazzeri G, Dalmasso P, Berchialla P, Borraccino A, Charrier L, Giacchi MV, Simi R, Lenzi M, Vieno A, Lemma P, Cavallo F.Trends in adolescent overweight prevalence in Italy according to socioeconomic position. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2017 Oct-Dec;53(4):283-290. doi: 10.4415/ANN_17_04_03.
Notes:11,13 & 15 Years (12 & 14 yrs not included)
Cutoffs:Other

Girls, 2014

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:11-15
Sample size:15035
Area covered:National
References:Lazzeri G, Dalmasso P, Berchialla P, Borraccino A, Charrier L, Giacchi MV, Simi R, Lenzi M, Vieno A, Lemma P, Cavallo F.Trends in adolescent overweight prevalence in Italy according to socioeconomic position. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 2017 Oct-Dec;53(4):283-290. doi: 10.4415/ANN_17_04_03.
Notes:11,13 & 15 Years (12 & 14 yrs not included)
Cutoffs:Other

Children, 2007-2008

Survey type:Measured
Age:2-9
Sample size:2424
Area covered:National
References:Ahrens W, Pigeot I, Pohlabeln H et al. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in European children below the age of 10. IJO 2014;38:S99-S107
Notes:Parental Income
Cutoffs:IOTF

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Sugar consumption

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International
Definitions:Sugar consumption (Number of 500g sugar portions/person/month)

Estimated per-capita sugar sweetened beverages intake

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International

Prevalence of at least daily carbonated soft drink consumption

Children, 2014

Survey type:Measured
References:World Health Organization. (2017). Adolescent obesity and related behaviours: Trends and inequalities in the who european region, 2002-2014: observations from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) WHO collaborative cross-national study (J. Inchley, D. Currie, J. Jewel, J. Breda, & V. Barnekow, Eds.). World Health Organization. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org
Notes:15-year-old adolescents
Definitions:Prevalence of at least daily carbonated soft drink consumption (% of at least daily carbonated soft drink consumption)

Prevalence of confectionery consumption

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International
Definitions:Prevalence of confectionery consumption (Number of 50g confectionery portions/person/month)

Prevalence of sweet/savoury snack consumption

Adults, 2016

References:Source: Euromonitor International
Definitions:Prevalence of sweet/savoury snack consumption (Number of 35g sweet/savoury snack portions/person/month)

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption

Children, 2014

Survey type:Measured
References:Global School-based Student Health Surveys. Beal et al (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287. Sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily fruit consumption (% less-than-daily fruit consumption)

Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption

Children, 2014

Survey type:Measured
Age:12-17
References:Beal et al. (2019). Global Patterns of Adolescent Fruit, Vegetable, Carbonated Soft Drink, and Fast-food consumption: A meta-analysis of global school-based student health surveys. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1177/0379572119848287 sourced from Food Systems Dashboard http://www.foodsystemsdashboard.org/food-system
Definitions:Prevalence of less-than-daily vegetable consumption (% less-than-daily vegetable consumption)

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: High Income

Health systems summary

Italy has had a National Health Service (NHS) since 1978. The Italian NHS covers all citizens and legal residents automatically and is considered to be fairly comprehensive (the minimum benefit package is decided upon by the national government). Most of the funding comes from public sources, namely corporate tax, general tax and regional taxes. However, it is said that there are large regional disparities in funding and quality of care in the highly decentralised health system. Public funding is supplemented by several co-payment charges, and while there is no annual cap on out of pocket (OOP) spending, there is a ‘ceiling’ for individual co-payments. OOP spending is relatively high in Italy at 24% of total health spending. Very few have voluntary health insurance in Italy, which can be obtained corporately or non-corporately and can provide complementary or supplementary coverage.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Defined as disease
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?Partial
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?Yes
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?Yes
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?Yes

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Cultural norms and traditions
  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Lack of training for healthcare professionals
  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • Influence of food industry
  • Stigma
  • Lack of treatment facilities
  • Poor health literacy and behaviour
  • Lack of opportunity for physical activity

Summary of stakeholder feedback

While there was some disagreement among stakeholders about the extent to which the Italian government recognised obesity as a disease, stakeholders agreed that there was more consensus among healthcare providers and professionals. It was reported that many were particularly receptive to defining obesity a disease because of its relation to cardiovascular issues. Since the conduction of the interviews and surveys with these stakeholders, however, there has been official parliamentary recognition that obesity is in fact a chronic disease.

Stakeholders reported that individuals typically entered the system via the gatekeeping general practitioners and paediatricians and from there they would be referred onto specialists (such as endocrinologists, nutritionists and dieticians). As investment into obesity prevention and treatment was reported to be poor (particularly for childhood obesity) and there was poor coverage of treatment and diagnostic exams, it was suggested that treatment was mostly paid for out of pocket or via private health insurance. The exception to this was bariatric surgery, for which there is public coverage but long waiting lists. Stakeholders said people tended to fall out of the system because they do not or stop losing weight and because of the lack of clinical care pathways and specialised obesity clinics.

There appears to be no specialist obesity training available in Italy but stakeholders reported that is a reasonable number of health professionals capable of treating obesity in urban areas but insufficient numbers in rural areas. Italy has several obesity guidelines available included one that is endorsed by the Italian Obesity Society.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 4 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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