MILAN – For Italian women a healthy diet is an important tool for protecting and caring for both their own health and the health of their loved ones. Compared to other countries, closer attention is paid in Italy to following a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy. “Made in Italy” food is also endorsed by foreign women who have moved to Italy. These are the results of two surveys conducted on a sample of Italian women and foreign woman who live in Italy, the aim of which was to study their eating habits and their relationships with food and health. The surveys are sponsored by Onda, a Civil Society Participant of EXPO 2015.
Survey on Italian women
“Diet is one of the most influential factors on psychological and physical development, productivity, quality of life and aging. The close link between diet and health is also highlighted by the World Health Organization, which considers proper nutrition and health to be fundamental human rights,” confirms Francesca Merzagora, president of Onda. “The findings of our first survey reveal that although more than half of those interviewed (56%) are very happy with their own diets, which overall were considered to be healthy and balanced and guided by the principles of a Mediterranean diet, 4 out of 10 women would like to improve their diet even further, for example by increasing their intake of fruit and vegetables and favouring fresh and natural foods. However, there are other obstacles that prevent people from pursuing the goal of a ‘perfect’ diet. These factors range from the difficulty of reconciling the choice of healthier foods with your own family’s preferences (43%), not having enough time to dedicate to preparing food (34%) and the higher prices of healthy foods (32%) to laziness and a lack of determination (30%).”
Survey on foreign women
Our compatriots’ interest in nutrition as a health tool is also confirmed by a second survey conducted on a sample of foreign women who have moved to Italy. All of the women were under the age of 40 and were interviewed in two focus groups in order to investigate how their eating habits changed in reaction to their move to another country and to the change in culture. In particular, foreign women feel that there is a greater focus on following a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy in Italy, compared to in their country of origin.
The majority of the women who have moved to Italy from abroad now follow a primarily Italian diet. The ability to cook traditional dishes from their own cultures is significantly affected by the difficulty of sourcing ingredients, as well as the fact that these ingredients are often too expensive. However, positive feedback was given regarding “Made in Italy” food, which is considered to be healthier. The interviewees appreciated the quality and abundance of raw ingredients, as well as the simplicity and variety of dishes (a view that was also shared by the Italian women).