Obesity and related syndromes
Italian culture places high value on food; Italy is renowned for its cuisine, and meals are important and lengthy events for many Italian families.
Additionally, in their article published in the journal Tumori, Pala et al highlight that the Italian diet typically consists of a high proportion of fatty foods – butter, cheese, cakes, meat, etc. As a result, a problem in the Italian community is the presence of overweight and obese individuals.
In Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases Miccoli et al point out that obesity is linked to various medical conditions including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, collectively referred to as the metabolic syndrome.
Studies have shown that a high proportion of Italian adults display one or more symptoms of this possibly lethal syndrome. Also, research conducted by Meenakshisundaram et al, published in the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research indicates that there is a gene common in Italian populations associated with cancer in obese individuals.
Given that rates of obesity are increasing in the general population as well, the health risks associated with being overweight or obese are of great concern to health care providers serving this population. However, through lifestyle modifications, health risks of obesity can be prevented, detected at an early stage, and treated.
Celiac disease is a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract characterised by sensitivity to gluten. Research published in Annals of Human Genetics have shown that this disorder has a high prevalence among Italian populations, especially in younger age groups. In managing celiac disease, special care must be taken in ensuring patients consume a gluten-free diet.