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The pasta, pizza and Peroni have finally taken their toll, with Italians emerging from two months of lockdown an average 2kg heavier.
Their cousins across the Alps have also piled on the pounds, with the average French person gaining 2.5kg.
Italians have been cooped up at home since early March, when the national lockdown was imposed.
They were told they could only go out for the most urgent necessities – shopping, collecting medicine from a chemist or going to and from work. Brief strolls were allowed but only within 200 yards of the home.
On a few occasions, people who did go for longer walks were verbally abused by their neighbours, while cyclists caught going for recreational rides were fined up to €280.
With people exercising a lot less and eating more, out of boredom or as a source of comfort, the weight gain was inevitable.
The average Italian has gained 2kg, according to Coldiretti, the national food and farmers’ association.
Families consumed 18 percent more food during the lockdown than usual, the association found.
"There was a real boom in so-called comfort food rich in calories, full of sugars, fats and carbohydrates,” the organisation said.
Italians bought 38 percent more pizza, 14 percent more bread, bread sticks and crackers, 7 percent more pasta and gnocchi, and 13 percent more desserts compared to the same period last year. With a lot more time to kill at home, they also drank more alcohol.
gnocchi[ˈnjɒki]: n. （面粉或马铃薯做的）团子
But since Monday, when lockdown restrictions were eased and Italians were allowed to go running, cycling and walking in the open air, many are keen to slim down.
Losing weight is a priority for 47 percent of Italians, according to the Coldiretti survey. People are trying to eat less and take advantage of the “huge availability” of fruit and vegetables that are now in season, from fresh peas, asparagus and spinach to the first melons and cherries of the summer.
More than a third of Italians are overweight and nearly 10 percent are obese.
Photo by Claudiu Hegedus on Unsplash
In France, the average person has put on 2.5kg under lockdown, with the main culprit for the extra love handles singled out as the extended evening aperitif.
France has been in confinement since March 17 but in the land of the croissant and chocolate éclair, bakeries and patisseries have been open throughout. According to the study by Darwin Nutrition, a healthy eating site, some 42 percent of those interviewed said they had “more (aperitifs) than before” - including drinks and a range of snacks from saucisson to vol-au-vent.
éclair[eɪ'kleə]: n. 奶油松饼
saucisson[səʊsiː'sʊŋ]: n. 干肉香肠
vol-au-vent[ˌvɔːl oʊ ˈvɑ̃ː]: n. 肉馅大酥饼
Thousands of French took to virtual pre-dinner drinks with friends and family via video conference apps on their computers and smartphones. The French are often lauded for having healthier eating habits because they tend to snack less between meals, which are more ceremonial affairs.
However, confinement has led to Gallic grazing, the study found. “More time at home means more time preparing meals and more opportunities to nibble,” Quentin Molinié, of Darwin Nutrition, told Le Parisien.
Gallic[ˈɡælɪk]: adj. 法国人的，高卢人的；法国式的
"Putting on weight isn’t a problem in itself and was predictable given the context of stress and limited physical effort."
Those most affected by extra pounds were men from the Paris region and women in rural areas.