Italy starts to watch its waistline as obesity grows
The state broadcaster has caused an outcry in southern Italy by claiming that the region that introduced the world to the Mediterranean diet is now obsessed with junk food and becoming obese as a result.
In an advertisement, the RAI network claims that the traditional diet rich in fruit, fish, vegetables and olive oil now "hardly exists" in the region where it originated, as the consumption of "throwaway food" rises.
One in two residents of the Campania region around Naples is overweight, and one in 10 is obese, alleges the advertisement, which was aired to promote Italy's hosting of the World Expo in 2015, which uses healthy food as its theme.
"When will the Mediterranean diet come home?" the advertisement asks.
It was enough to prompt a demand for damages from Stefano Pisani, the mayor of Pollica, a small town in the Cilento area of Campania, who called the advertisement "shameful" and said he had received hasty guarantees from Italy's agriculture minister that it would not be shown again. (© Daily Telegraph, London)