Many would think that with its Mediterranean diet the Italian population should be looking reasonably healthy and, what is most important, in good shape. Unfortunately, this is not quite the case. Italy has now the fastest growing rate of obesity, especially among its young. This is due largely to two main causes:
First is the increasing number of working mums who, instead of being able to give their children a decent lunch, palm them off with chocolate bars and crisps.
Second is the growing fashion, again particularly among the young, for American-style fast foods including big Ms, fizzy drinks etc.
(Lucca’s own contribution to the fast food culinary inexperience at San Concordio)
What is the solution to the problem? School meals are optional in Italy so not much can be done on that front. Sports are not a standard part of the school curriculum so that can’t help.
What does benefit, however, is a concerted effort towards a healthier diet which must include fruit and veg. Our local Penny (super)market has just finished a popular card collection called ‘fruvees’ emphasising the benefits of eating more fruit and veg. Here’s a page from my (now complete!) album:
Last Saturday Bagni di Lucca held a ‘giornata dello sport’ (sports day) where local associations were invited to encourage young people to take up sporting activities.
Much to my delight I saw a very close semblance of a game of cricket in Villa’s public gardens.
I wonder if in the past games of cricket were played at Bagni di Lucca? Incidentally, Italy has a very active women’s cricket team federation.
(Olimpia Casteller Cricket Club from the Veneto who became Italian champions of serie A in 2013).
Other activities in Bagni’s sports day included rugby, golf and volleyball.
There was also a chance to see the inside of the victorian gothic water tower that graces the public gardens donated by the Contessa Casalini to the municipality
The day was beautifully warm and the town centre was made traffic-free.
I thought this was a great initiative both for preventing obesity increase and for getting children to come together (and with their parents).
Ultimately, however, the best cure for obesity will be the fact that any self-respecting Italian will always want to ‘fare una buona figura’ (cut a good figure). What with the bathing season upon us who could countenance excess kilos of flesh oozing from their swimsuits?