Nutritionists are sounding the alarm as expanding waistbands signal the desertion of traditional diets across Italy. The growing obesity trend is especially obvious among the 6-to-16 year old age group.
While inventive recipes restricted by budget originally propelled the Mediterranean Diet, which is high in fresh produce, it is now industrialized food that seems like the best budget option.
"Fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and olive oil are very expensive," he said. "And also, fish is really quite expensive, too,” explained Angelo Pietrobelli, an associate professor at the University of Verona.
It is not just the processed foods that are to blame. Younger age groups are also spending up to four hours every day sitting in front of the television set.
The skyrocketing obesity rates are remarkable considering the original Mediterranean diet subjects lived a mere three generations ago.
The diet was studied in the 1940s and 1950s by American physiologist Ancel Keys after he noticed the low rates of heart disease among Mediterranean populations.