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Obesity, diabetes up in Turkey, report finds

ANTALYA - Anatolia News Agency | 10/14/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Obesity and diabetes rates in Turkey have risen over the last 13 years, according to a new report released at the 32nd Congress of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases of Turkey.

Obesity and diabetes rates in Turkey have risen over the last 13 years, according to a new report released at the 32nd Congress of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases of Turkey recently held in the southern province of Antalya.

The report, called the Turkish Diabetes Epidemiology Study 2, or TURDEP-2, is based on research done in five cities and 15 provinces of Turkey. According to preliminary findings, over the past 13 years the average weight of a woman in Turkey increased by six kilograms while the average weight of a man increased by seven kilograms. The results were compared with TURDEP-1, a study done 13 years previously.

Other research presented at the congress, which attracts doctors and politicians to discuss endocrine issues, showed that 13.7 percent of Turks have been diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 7.2 percent 13 years ago.

The TURDEP-2 study included 16,696 women and 9,327 men above the age of 20 in varying neighborhoods and towns of five provinces and was conducted between Jan. 18 and June 15 of this year.

Experts from several institutions analyzed the results. Professor İlhan Satman, who led the study, found a notable increase in hip and belly size.

TURDEP-2 found that Turkish women’s waists increased by six centimeters since TURDEP-1. Men’s waists expanded by seven centimeters. The country’s average life expectancy increased by four years during that time.

Compared to 13 years ago, women’s hips expanded by seven centimeters while men’s expanded by two centimeters.

Another result of the research was that women became one centimeter taller overall to an average height of 1.59 meters. The height of an average Turkish man also increased by one centimeter to 1.71 meters.

An average Turkish woman weighs 72 kilos, while an average Turkish man weighs 80 kilos, according to the results of TURDEP-2.

“Physical activity patterns played a crucial role in obesity,” said Satman.

Satman said the average life expectancy of the Turkish population rose by four years. However, the prevalence of obesity increased to 31.2 percent from 22.3 percent due to a lack of physical activity

He urged people to exercise regularly.

“There should be warnings on food packaging just like the warning messages on cigarette packages,” Dr. Turan Buzgan, deputy secretary at the Health Ministry, said during the conference.

“We should also put calorie information on menus in restaurants,” said Buzgan, adding that the ministry would run advertisements in the media to raise awareness about the issue. He said they have put valuable exercise courses in school schedules instead of routine exercise courses.

Smoking rates decreased by 42 percent over 13 years, the report highlighted.

“The Constitutional Court is considering repealing the smoking ban in teahouses, but the ministry expects the ban to remain in place,” said Buzgan.

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