Obesity in Italy

While the prevalence of obesity in Italy is lower than in most other countries at the global level1, it still has significant consequences.

Italians live on average 2.7 years less due to overweight6. Overweight accounts for 9% of health expenditure, which is above the European average.4 Labour market outputs are lower due to overweight by the equivalent of 571,000 full time workers per year.4 Combined, this means that overweight reduces Italy’s GDP by 2.8%.4 To cover these costs, each Italian pays an additional €289 in taxes per year.4

Although obesity is recognized as a disease at the parliamentary level, bariatric surgery is the only reimbursed treatment and there are insufficient numbers of obesity centres to effectively support people living with obesity.


About OPEN Italy

OPEN Italy is a Think Tank network of obesity experts, policy advocates, parliamentary bodies, scientific societies and patient organizations with multidisciplinary perspectives, formed in order to discuss obesity solutions.

OPEN Italy works in partnership with the Parliamentary Intergroup on Obesity and Diabetes.

OPEN Italy aims to implement a clinical and holistic approach to protect the rights of people living with obesity, putting patients at the centre of all elements of obesity-related healthcare. This includes, improving quality of life and care, fighting weight stigma, and recognising obesity as a disease, requiring commitment and action from political and healthcare decision-makers.

Key Achievements

On 13 November 2019, the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament voted unanimously to approve a motion that recognises obesity as a chronic disease asking the Government to implement specific actions to promote and improve obesity prevention and management.

This was the result of a sustained collaboration between the Obesity and Diabetes parliamentary multi-party working group and OPEN Italy.

This motion represents a very important step in the recognition of obesity as a disease in Italy, and we look forward to the actions that our National Government and the Italian regions will undertake in the future toward practical implementation of the motion, and its translation in the day-to-day activity of our National Health Service.

The parliamentary motion was inspired by the Italian Charter of Human Rights for People Living with Obesity (also developed by OPEN), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Italian Constitution; the European Charter of Patients’ Rights; the Action-Io Study; the roadmap developed by OPEN Italy and the recommendations of the World Obesity Federation for the fight against stigma and discrimination.

The outcome of the Italian Parliament decision was 458/458 in favour of the motion, and the text was unanimously adopted by the Deputies present and the Minister of Health.

Among the various commitments there is a national plan to harmonise the activities in the field of prevention and the fight against obesity; full access to diagnostic procedures for comorbidities, dietary treatments, and, in the most serious cases, access to second-level centres to evaluate psychological, pharmacological and surgical approaches; guidelines concerning the “first 1,000 days of life” of the child and programs for the prevention of childhood obesity.

Priorities in 2020 and beyond

  • PROMOTE OPEN Italy as an Italian network on obesity – solid, inclusive and efficient – characterized by an interdisciplinary approach, within which the different actors of the system can face the barriers, and are able to convey a shared message through common outputs;
  • ENGAGE as widely as possible to activate a successful path of public and private partnership with diverse institutions including: city administrations, scientific societies, patient and citizenship associations, universities, research centers hospitals, specialist centers, general medicine physicians, and key voices from industry, sports, and the media
  • DEVELOP official data on obesity at the economic, political, social and epidemiological level and publish an Italian Obesity Barometer Report
  • PROMOTE awareness and prevention campaigns in cities, schools and workplaces
  • DEVELOP a core curriculum on obesity for healthcare professionals
  • PROTECT and ENSURE the rights of people living with obesity
  • ENCOURAGE parliamentary and government debates on obesity
  • ESTABLISH Obesity in the Ministry of Health essential levels of Healthcare (LEA)
  • REALIZE an Urban Obesity Declaration

Members of OPEN Italy

Status: June 2020


  • Prof. MD Andrea Lenzi, President FO.RI.SIE, CNBBSV, Health City Institute


  • Dr. Chiara Spinato, Director General Health City Institute and secretary Parliamentary Intergroup Obesity & Diabetes


  • Prof. Vincenzo Atella, Director of Centre for Economic and International Studies (CEIS), University of Roma Tor Vergata
  • Prof. MD Luca Busetto, President Elect of Italian Obesity Society – SIO and Co-Chair, Obesity Management Task Force EASO
  • Prof. Marco Cappa, Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology at Bambino Gesù Hospital, expert in paediatric obesity
  • Dr. MD Antonio Caretto, President of the Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition – ADI Foundation
  • Prof. MD Michele Carruba, President Center For Study And Research On Obesity. University of Milan, expert in obesity
  • Dr. MD Maria Grazia Carbonelli, Responsible B.U. Obesity Roma San Camillo Hospital, expert in obesity
  • Ms. Diana Castillo, Amici Obesi Association
  • Prof. Stefano Cianfarani, President Italian Endocrinology and Diabetes Paediatric Society – SIEDP
  • Prof. Anna Maria Colao, President elect of the Italian Society of Endocrinology – SIE
  • Dr. Roberta Crialesi, Director Health Department National Institute for Statistic-ISTAT
  • Prof. MD Claudio Cricelli, President of the of the Italian Society of General Medicine – SIMG
  • Prof. Stefano da Empoli, President of Institute for Competitiveness – ICOM
  • Prof. MD Francesco Dotta, Director of the Department of Medicine, surgery and neuroscience, University of Siena, expert in obesity comorbidity
  • Dr. MD Giuseppe Fatati, President of the Italian Obesity Network – IO-NET
  • Prof. MD Diego Foschi, President of Italian Society of Bariatric Surgery – SICOB
  • Prof. MD Simona Frontoni, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Roma Tor Vergata, Expert in Obesity comorbidity
  • Dr. Antonio Gaudioso, Secretary General Cittadinanzattiva – Active Citizenship
  • Prof. MD Ezio Ghigo, Chair Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, expert in obesity
  • Prof. MD Francesco Giorgino, President of the Italian Society of Endocrinology – SIE
  • Prof. Lucio Gnessi, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Roma Sapienza, Expert in Obesity
  • Prof. MD Renato Lauro, President IBDO Foundation
  • Prof. Frida Leonetti, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Roma Sapienza, Expert in Obesity comorbidity
  • Dr. Giuseppe Malfi, President of the Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition
  • Dr. MD Gerardo Medea, responsible of Metabolic area of the Italian Society of General Medicine – SIMG
  • Dr. Fabrizio Muratori, Former of the Italian Obesity Society- SIO
  • Dr. MD Antonio Nicolucci, Director CORESEARCH
  • Prof. MD Enzo Nisoli, Director Center For Study And Research On Obesity. University of Milan, expert in obesity
  • Dr. Mario Pappagallo, Editor of URBES
  • Dr. Nicola Pinelli, Director General of the Italian Federation of Public Health Trusts and Hospitals -FIASO
  • Prof. Walter Ricciardi, President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations -WFPHA
  • Dr. Giovanna Rosso, Obesity Unit Director, Novo Nordisk Italy
  • Prof. MD Ferruccio Santini, President SIO
  • Prof. MD Paolo Sbraccia, President of the Italian Wellness Association -IWA
  • Dr. Ketty, Vaccaro, Director of Welfare Department CENSIS Foundation
  • Prof. MD Roberto Vettor, Head Clinic of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine-DIMED, University of Padua, expert in obesity
  • Dr. Drago Vuina, General Manager & Corporate Vice President Novo Nordisk Italy
  • Ms. Iris Zani, President Amici Obesi Association


  • Senator Laura Bianconi
  • Hon MP Rosanna Boldi, Vice President of Social Affairs Commission at Chamber of Deputies
  • Senator Luigi D’Ambrosio Lettieri, Vice President Federation of the Orders of Italian Pharmacists – FOFI
  • Hon MP Celeste D’Arrando, Member of Social Affairs Commisssion at Chamber of Deputies
  • Hon MP Maria Chiara Gadda, Member of the Enviroment Commssion at the Chamber of Deputies
  • Hon MP Andrea Mandelli, President Federation of the Orders of Italian Pharmacists – FOFI, member of the Budget, treasure, planning Commision at the Chamber of Deputies
  • Hon MP Raffaele Nevi, Member of Agriculture Commission at Chamber of Deputies
  • Hon MP Roberto Pella, President Parliamentary Intergroup on Obesity, Vice president Vicar of Italian Municipalities Association, member of the Budget, treasure, planning Commission at the Chamber of Deputies
  • Senator MP MD Maria Rizzotti, Member of Senate Health Commission
  • Senator MP Daniela Sbrollini, President Parliamentary Intergroup on Obesity and Diabetes, Member of Senate Agriculture Commission
  • All member of Italian Parliamentary Intergroup on Obesity (250 deputies and senators)


  • Dr. MD Claudio D’Amario, General Director of Prevention of the Ministry of Health.
  • Prof. MD Silvio Brusaferro, President National Institute for Health – ISS
  • Dr. MD Nicola Maggini, General Director of AIFA (Italian Medicines Agency)
  • Dr.MD Angela Spinelli, Director of Eidemiology & Prevention of National Institute for Health – ISS


  • Federico Serra, OPEN Director Italy


  • Italian Obesity Network IO-NET Parliamentary Intergroup Obesity & Diabetes


1 OECD. Obesity Update. 2017. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Obesity-Update-2017.pdf [Accessed: May 2020].

2 NCD Risk Factor Collaboration. Lancet. 2016;387(10026):1377–1396.

3 World Obesity Federation. World Obesity Day. Our data. World Obesity Federation 2017. https://www.obesityday.worldobesity.org/ourdata2017 * Adults defined as ≥ 20 years old

4 OECD (2014). Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit not Fat Key Facts – Italy, Update 2014 [Online]. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/italy/Obesity-Update-2014-ITALY.pdf [Accessed: May 2020].

5 Italian Obesity Barometer Report. 2020. Obesity Monitor. Available at: https://www.diabete.com/content/uploads/2019/04/OBESITY-BAROMETER-REPORT-4-4-2019-LOW.pdf. [Accessed: May 2020].

6 OECD. The Heavy Burden of Obesity. The Economics of Prevention: Italy. 2019. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/italy/Heavy-burden-of-obesity-Media-country-note-ITALY.pdf [Accessed: May 2020].