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HEALTH

Wellbeing is up in Italy despite economic troubles, study finds

Italians are feeling better overall despite struggles with job insecurity and poor work-life balance, according to new figures.

Wellbeing is up in Italy despite economic troubles, study finds
Biking around Italy's Lake Garda. Photo: Depositphotos

Italians are famed for having a supposedly relaxed and healthy lifestyle. And new figures released by national statistics bureau Istat on Thursday show that Italians' wellbeing is actually on the increase.

READ ALSO: La dolce vita? The Italian towns with the best (and worst) quality of life

“Over the last year the indicators report an improvement in wellbeing,” the national statistics agency said in its latest annual BES report.

The report aims to look beyond the usual GDP-based economic picture of how Italy is progressing, by considering economic, social and environmental phenomena.

“Over 50 percent of the 110 comparable indicators have registered an improvement,” ISTAT said.

Fruit for sale at a market in Rome. Photo: AFP

Two in five Italians reported “high levels of satisfaction” with their lives, and overall subjective perceptions of wellbeing had increased by 1.8 percent overall since last year, Istat found.

Italians are also feeling more positive, the study found, with the number of people describing themselves as “optimistic” increasing by 1.8 percent and the number of self.confessed pessimists dropping by two percent.

Istat said the biggest increases in wellbeing were registered in parts of northern Italy, while the lowest scores were found in the centre-south.

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In the south, reported levels of satisfaction with life were on average around 12 percent lower compared to the North.

The study noted that the wellbeing index was pushed down by economic factors in many areas, particularly by unemployment, job insecurity, and issues with work-life balance.

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COVID-19

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 

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People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.

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