The Italian Almanac

healthy and the poor

Italian News - November 4

Italians are healthier than ever, smoking less and shunning fast food in favour of traditional balanced lunches, but they also feel much poorer, according to the annual report from national statistics institute Istat.

Almost 75% of Italians feel in good health and 70% report that their midday meal is still 'sacred', Istat said. Even more of the population, 80%, reported they eat a big, healthy breakfast - a sharp rise over recent years. Only 22% of Italians said they were still smokers, a drop of 2% on the last report.

But about half the Italian population is unhappy with its economic situation - a rise of some eight percent compared to three years ago. Almost 60% of people in the poorer south are feeling the pinch. Perhaps because of the recent economic crunch, Italians are taking much shorter holidays, the survey found. On a brighter note, they are taking more holidays and going ever farther afield, Istat said.

The survey also found more women in work than previous years but largely in part-time employment. One in four women work half a day, it said. The report also found that three in four households have cellphones and there has been a recent boom in sales of air-conditioning units.