Edited by Paola Piovesana

The "recipe" for well-being illustrated by Professor Luigi Fontana, a world-renowned doctor and academic reaffirmed on the occasion of the World Digestive Health Day 2021, celebrated on May 29 all over the world, during the direct Facebook Sydney-Italy.

The event was organized by the Italian Association of Hospital Gastroenterologists and Digestive Endoscopists (AIGO) with the patronage of LILT, the Italian League for the Fight against Cancer. A virtual "chat" between the President of AIGO dr Fabio Monica, Director of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy of the Giuliano Isontina University Health Authority of Trieste and the distinguished expert, and the Prof. Luigi Fontana, originally from Trentino, moved to Australia where he leads the research and clinical program on healthy longevity at the Charles Perkins Center, as well as having held other prestigious positions.

Dr. Monica - Prof. Fontana

The 2021 focus of the anniversary was on obesity as a "plague of well-being" for several generations, especially in the most advanced and economically advanced countries but also rampant in low-income countries, in progressive and worrying increase all over the world.

Obesity is a complex disease problem not only related to overweight but is strictly connected to numerous other serious diseases, from cardiovascular problems to diabetes, from cancers (especially colon, liver, stomach, breast, and endometrium) to senile dementia.


Epidemiological data 

They are definitely alarming: today about 800 million people live together, of which 6 million in Italy, with a global cost that will be $ 1 trillion by 2025. Obesity, especially in childhood, is expected to increase by 60% over the next decade, reaching 250 million individuals by 2030.

Prof. Luigi Fonta

"Overweight and obesity are a problem not adequately addressed around the world - Fontana confirmed - for unfair lifestyles, which covid has worsened with lockdowns ".

Italy and other countries of the world

"Italy - explained Fontana, author not only of numerous international scientific publications but also of popular books including "Happiness tastes like health"Written with the late chef Vittorio Fusari and"The great way - Nutrition, movement, meditation for a long happy, healthy and creative life"Written with Dr. Franco Berrino - is made" less worse "than other countries of the world, such as the USA, Australia and Great Britain, but it counts 3 out of 10 people overweight and 1 out of 10 obese, with peaks especially among children and in some regions such as Campania. The real drama then - added the doctor - is that for many parents the problem of their children's overweight does not exist, it is not perceived, despite the fact that the children practice little sport by staying too much on the PC or mobile phone and eat too much food, sugary drinks, and snacks ". Dr. Monica, President of AIGO added that “If the trend does not change in the future we will have numbers in exponential growth; patients come to us only when they have evident symptoms, instead we need to work on prevention ”.

Prevention and information to the population these are the inspiring values and mission of AIGO, which Professor Fontana urged to continue with the dissemination activity already underway.

Covid-19 effect

The consequences of a wrong diet in quarantine

Only in Italy have been recorded that overweight of Italians worsen by 4% (analysis of Coldiretti on data from Crea, the Food and Nutrition Research Center released on the occasion of theObesity Day 2020). It is a pity, also because the average life expectancy - barring accidents or serious illnesses - is very high today, but with incorrect lifestyles, we are going to nullify the possible longevity and healthy old age.  

"It's a matter of culture, we need to do prevention starting from schools - Fontana insisted again - just think that from university age onwards there is a weight increase of about 1kg per year, which if not countered leads us over the years to accumulate tens of kilos - mainly of fat - useless and harmful ".

The good news, however, is that action can be taken, and that with a reasoned weight loss the values related to inflammatory states, cholesterol, pressure also fall or improve. "In this - then assured Fontana bringing amazing results relative to American patients - our Mediterranean diet which limits meat and favors fish, fruit and vegetables, legumes and whole grains, is an effective recipe ". 

Many quastions from the audience have allowed doctors to deny the effectiveness of "trendy" diets and diets, which lead to rapid weight loss perhaps, but not to lasting results and real positive effects on health that are stable over time, avoiding vitamin deficiencies or overloading for some organs. 

Common sense, therefore, movement, healthy controlled nutrition without excesses (even the Mediterranean diet, if the quantities are excessive, makes you fat!) are an important form of prevention and fight against the main diseases that can hinder longevity and health until the late age. Finally, it is also necessary to sensitize the institutions and governments to take concrete action to contain the heavy repercussions on the costs of health that the increase in obesity will bring with it.


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