Turkey tops list of obese countries in Europe, expert says

Turkey tops list of obese countries in Europe, expert says

Turkey tops list of obese countries in Europe, expert says

Turkey sits on the first row on the list of obese countries in Europe, with the southern province of Adana, known for its spicy kebabs, hosting the most obese population among other provinces across the country, a professor has said.

“We are very good at becoming fat. We are the first country in Europe, [unfortunately] this means being the last healthy country,” Fırat Bayraktar, the general secretary of the National Obesity Congress (UOK), said in a press conference in the western province of İzmir.

The Turkish Association for the Study of Obesity (TOAD) organized an event to create awareness on obesity on March 3 within the scope of the “March 4: World Obesity Day” activities in which the country’s prominent doctors participated.

Hasan İlkova, the head of UOK, mentioned the rapid rise in the number of obese people in the country in years during his opening speech.

“This was a problem of the high-income group in Turkey for years. But, now, the numbers also skyrocketed in the average and low-income groups,” he pointed out.

Highlighting that obesity today has become a manageable disease, İlkova made a call to all doctors to become conscious of the problem.

To empathize with the obese people, he said, “There were times, we, as physicians, had to wear heavy vests of lead, to understand what they feel.”

Bayraktar was the second expert to hold the floor at the press conference.

Reminding that obesity is a serious public health issue, he listed some data showing local and global results.

“Some five decades ago, obesity was not a problem for the world,” he said. “However, as the people’s lifestyles changed, the problem emerged after the 1980s.”

The rate of overweight was once 15 percent in adults and 5 percent in infants.

“As of 2016, the rate of overweight in adults reached 40 percent, which means 4 in every 10 people are overweight.”

He highlighted that the number of overweight and obese people across the globe overpassed 1.9 billion.

The situation is not so bright for Turkey too.

“We are the first country in Europe. We need to find a solution to this problem before new bad results come to light in the coming years,” he added.

In Turkey, the rate of obese people, which was 22.3 percent between 1998 and 2010, jumped to 31.2 percent between 2011 and 2022.

According to the expert, 18 million out of the country’s 84.4 million population is overweight and obese.

He especially mentioned that Adana is on the top with the most obese population.

With a population of 1.8 million, Adana is known for its local delicacies, especially spicy kebabs. The meat consumption in the city is around 80 tons daily.

The eastern province of Erzurum, known for its “cag kebabs,” is the most fit city, the expert said.

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