About 16 percent of German kids between two and 10-years-old are overweight compared to 42 percent of Italian children, this week's edition of Focus magazine reported.
It cited previously unreleased information from IDEFICS, an in-progress study being led by researchers at the University of Bremen.
One of the study’s leader’s Wolfgang Ahrens told Focus that children northern European countries, including Germany, were eating more healthy food like fish with “good” fat than the Italians, although he said exercise and sleep were even more important factors in children’s health.
It’s not yet clear where German children stack up compared to other Europeans. The university told The Local on Monday that it couldn’t release more information because the study was continuing.
But the results may be surprising because previous research has concluded that German adults are Europe’s fattest. A 2007 study by the International Association for the Study of Obesity found that 58 percent of women and 75 percent of men were overweight. Fatty foods, a lack of exercise and excessive beer consumption were cites as reasons.
Those revelations prompted a government anti-obesity initiative called “Fit Instead of Fat” that aimed to promote exercise and healthy eating.
The German Statistics Office reported last year that Germans were continuing to get fatter, although it cited lower levels than the 2007 study, saying just 51 percent were overweight.
Researchers said they hoped the results of the IDEFICS study would be used to improve nutritional and lifestyle guidelines in Europe in order to maximize health.