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Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2019 Aug 21:1-10. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2019.1655714. [Epub ahead of print]

Access to health care, nutrition and dietary habits among school-age children living in socio-economic inequality contexts: results from the "ForGood: Sport is Well-Being" programme.

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Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome Tor Vergata , Rome , Italy.
Sport Senza Frontiere ONLUS , Rome , Italy.
Specialization School of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata , Rome , Italy.


Social frailty is a warring phenomenon in Europe, negatively impacting children's health and nutrition. We present the results of a social programme facilitating access to physical activities for vulnerable children in Italy. 311 school-age children enrolled in the programme between 2015 and 2017 were assessed for health and lifestyle, anthropometric and nutritional status. Data were compared by origin (Italians vs. immigrants) and then immigrants were split into sub-groups: first- and second-generation. Poor socio-economic status exposed children to a lack of access to health services, and drove imbalanced eating behaviour. 20.8% of children were not registered with the National Health Services (immigrants p < .0001); 22% were not fully vaccinated (no differences between groups). A double burden of malnutrition coexisted: overweight was higher for Italians, underweight and poor linear growth for immigrants. Nearly 40% of children had a poor Mediterranean Diet adequacy (KIDMED index). Our findings show that when social programmes, besides their main scope of inclusion and integration, holistically approach their beneficiaries, they can play an important role in monitoring lifestyle conditions and facilitating access to primary health care.


Dietary habits; KIDMED; health care; school-age children; social programme; socio-economic inequality

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