Italian child health statistics review: Morbidity and social habits

Maurizio Bonati, R. Campi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a wealth of national data on child health, even if systematic and continuous collection, analysis, and widespread use is far from guaranteed. Basic vital statistics are essential to monitor and plan interventions, but updated, pertinent information is obtainable only by consulting multiple sources, and refers only to a few time periods and geographical areas. This second part of the review introduces additional data, their sources, recent trends, and regional distributions. The prevalence of congenital anomalies has declined during the past two decades, reaching 154.4 cases per 10,000 total births. Child immunization coverage has increased, but in a few regions the rate of some vaccinations, such as measles, is below the minimum required. Allergic and respiratory diseases are the two most frequent chronic illnesses, affecting about 15% of the Italian paediatric population in a stable manner. About 20% of Italian children and adolescents are overweight and a further 10% obese. Alcohol consumption, smoking and sexual intercourse begin in early adolescence. Mental health problems affect 17% of the Italian population aged less than 18 years, and at least 2 thousand Italian children and adolescents received psychotropic drug prescriptions during 2005. Access to social and health services, such as school attendance, and employment rate vary widely between the South and North of Italy. Once again, the major findings are characterized by regional differences in analysed data. The challenge for the coming decades is to guarantee all Italian children (and their families) equal care for their needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalItalian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Chronic disease
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Immunization
  • Inequalities
  • Italy
  • Obesity
  • Psychotropic drugs
  • Social habits
  • Vital statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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