Portly El Papa is told to lay off the pasta by his doctors
Pope Francis has been told by Vatican doctors to lay off the pasta, after gaining weight since being elected as head of the Roman Catholic Church two years ago.
The 78-year-old Argentine pontiff has appeared noticeably more upholstered during public appearances over the past few months, with doctors ascribing the weight gain to too much spaghetti and ravioli and not enough exercise. Vatican doctors said the Pope needed to adopt a more "disciplined" regimen try to combat the stress and strain he faced as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
They have advised him to eat pasta no more than twice a week.
The Pope, who has only one fully functioning lung, takes no holidays, deals with an enormous amount of correspondence and has embarked on reform of the Vatican's murky financial institutions.
He has set a blistering pace with his travel agenda since becoming Pope in 2013.
In addition to visiting Lampedusa, the island where tens of thousands of asylum seekers have arrived, he has also visited the mafia heartland of Calabria and, last month, the port city of Naples.
His international trips have taken him to Brazil, Israel, Jordan, the West Bank, Albania and Turkey, and he is scheduled to visit the US at the end of this year.
Medics want to take no chances with his state of health, particularly after he said recently that because of his advanced age he had an intuition that his papacy would be a short one.
In a wide-ranging interview to mark his two years as Pope, he also revealed that the thing he most misses is the freedom to nip out for a pizza.