“38% of children in Puglia are overweight”

In Puglia, 38% of children between the ages of 5 and 9 are obese or overweight, 11.1% eat fruit less than once a week or never, and only 39.8% of children eat an appropriate mid-morning snack, with a potential devastating impact on the health of the younger generation; 1 in 4 parents fail at school canteens. It appears from an analysis of Coldiretti Pugliabased on the OKKio alla Salute study, on the occasion of the Food and Environmental Education Festival organized by the women of Coldiretti and Campagna Amica in Bari in Rossani Park: a day outdoors with agrididactic lessons and field games to help the over a thousand little guests overcome stress caused by the war and the pandemic with too much time in front of the TV, which has affected the body and psyche.

The forced reduction of physical activity and the greater time spent at home and in front of the television for two years of the pandemic has been added to the adoption of incorrect consumption models in families with the worrying abandonment of the principles of the Mediterranean diet. Just think about it 6 out of 10 teenagers do not eat fruit or vegetables every day, according to Coldiretti analysis of WHO data, increasing the risks associated with obesity and related diseases. But it is also the children who care young people facing eating disorders. These are pathologies that mainly occur from the age of 12, but which in recent times have affected minors even from the age of 8 and up.

“The collective catering with school canteens affects the quality of life, nutrition and thus the health of thousands of students of developmental age,” he said. Savino Muraglia, President of Coldiretti Puglia. “An important commitment in Puglia, where almost 4 out of 10 children still weigh too much, even though in recent years there has been a slight reduction due to the effect of the investment in food education in schools and homes. An encouraging result that shows the need to continue investing in food education from school, where the consumption of healthy products should be favored ».

Coldiretti is involved in the project “Training for the friendly campaign” which involves students from primary and secondary schools throughout Italy, who participate in planned lessons on educational farms and in tasting workshops arranged on farms and in the classroom. The aim is to educate consumers who are aware of the principles of healthy eating and seasonal products in order to improve the basic elements of the Mediterranean diet and rebuild the link that unites agricultural products with the foods consumed every day and stop the consumption of junk food.

“The project for sustainable development and food education, supported by the Puglia Regional School Office, consists of agrididactic lessons in school and in the countryside, where over 30 thousand students participated in the school year 2021/2022” has explained Maddalena Rignanese Rinaldi, head of the Coldiretti Donne Puglia. “It must be ensured that pupils in school canteens receive meals prepared with local agricultural products of km0 when more than one in four parents (28%) has a negative assessment of the meals served in school canteens, where it is estimated that 90 million are consumed per year for 585 thousand pupils alone at the school lunch “.

According to the Coldiretti / Ix survey, a clear majority of 71% of Italians believe that canteens should offer the healthiest foods to educate the new generations in terms of food, while only 12% believe that the dishes they like should also be served .

“Increasing consumption habits that have spread everywhere need to be changed and consumers need to be trained to be aware of the principles of healthy nutrition and seasonal products in order to improve the basic elements of the Mediterranean diet and rebuild the link between agricultural products and daily foods” , he argued Pietro PiccioniColdiretti Regional Director.

To help the whole school system and the families to feed the younger generations and the whole family core in the best possible way, the project “Education for Campagna Amica” has for years facilitated the meeting between children and agricultural products at km0. In Puglia in the last 10 years – according to what was reported by Coldiretti Puglia – 600 thousand children and 480 schools have been involved in the educational agricultural project, of which 70% in the age group between 4 and 11 years, from kindergarten to primary school. and 30% older middle and high school students.

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