Turkey fights back at ballooning weight gain

In Turkey, the land of kebabs and sweet lokum, expanding waistlines are the target of a new anti-obesity campaign by the government to help one million Turks slim down over the next year.

The numbers are staggering: a little over one out of every three people is obese, according to health ministry figures. Even more when it comes to women.

"The fight against obesity starts now," say publicity spots rolled out by the ministry to push back against lifestyle changes doctors believe are bulking up the 73 million population.

"Modern-day life has set constraints that make us eat faster and more without paying attention to the quality of the food we're ingesting," said paediatrician Murat Tuncer, a specialist in blood disorders.

But on the upside, he added, as a Mediterranean country Turkey has all the vegetables, fruit and fish required for a healthy diet.

The ministry sounded the alarm on the problem last month.

"Thirty-five percent of the population is obese," said Health Minister Recep Akdag, who himself recently set an example by losing 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and recommends a walking regime of 10,000 steps a day.

With more and more Turks in treatment for obesity-triggered diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, the government has started pushing health and dietary tactics, along with the television and newspaper ads, to urge Turks to eat less and work to lose weight.

Over the summer, family doctors will distribute pedometers, so people can record their walking distance, and monitor the progress of their overweight patients.

And in a change introduced July 1, bread is now sold with less salt and more wholewheat flour, making it richer in fibre, a key change for a country where bread is a mainstay of the national diet,

To prevent childhood obesity, Turkish television will only air adverts for healthy food and a balanced diet.

The campaign comes at a time when obesity -- recognised since 1997 as a disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO) -- is increasingly a global issue.

A person is considered overweight if his body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on height and weight, is over 25, while a BMI over 30 qualifies one as obese.

A study published in June by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and based on 2005 figures, showed that 74 percent of the North American population was overweight, with 56 percent in Europe, 29 percent in Africa and 24 percent in Asia.

"The average (weight) is increasing everywhere. Everybody is getting fatter, even the thin people are getting fatter," co-author Ian Roberts told AFP at the time.

In Turkey, the world's 17th biggest economy, the number of people treated for diabetes has gone up 90 percent in 12 years, said Yunus Yavuz, a specialist in metabolic diseases.

But there is hope.

"Obesity is a preventable disease. It's enough to slim down to extend your life expectancy and quality of life," Yavuz said.

And for those with extreme BMIs, surgery is always an option. Thirty-four year-old Gulsah Bulbul recently went in for a gastrectomy after weighing in at 147 kilograms.

"Whenever I entered a clothes store, they would tell me, 'there is nothing here for you," she said after the surgery.

"I wasn't suffering from a physical problem but a psychological one," she added.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT
    Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT

    Sen. Sergio Osmeña III wants electricity to be exempted from value added tax under a proposed measure that will amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 and the Reformed VAT Law. He said the move aims to ease the burden of the public in paying high electricity rates in the country. “VAT on electricity is another burden on the already over-taxed shoulders of our people, especially those whose incomes are barely enough to cover their basic needs. Osmeña, chairman of the Senate …

  • No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday
    No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday

    No lotto tickets will be sold and no lotto draws made starting tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, up to Easter Sunday in observance of Holy Week. In a statement, Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, acting Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman and general manager, said the selling of lotto tickets and lotto draws will resume on April 6,  Monday. “We thank all Lotto players for your trust and confidence in the PCSO games, and we count on your continued support of our efforts to raise funds for …

  • Quake rocks C. Visayas
    Quake rocks C. Visayas

    A magnitude-3.2 earthquake rocked parts of Central Visayas yesterday. State seismologists said the quake was an aftershock of a powerful tremor that hit the region in 2013. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake occurred at 7:54 a.m. Its epicenter was located 10 kilometers  southeast of Buenavista, Bohol. Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013. …

  • Super howler nears Phl
    Super howler nears Phl

    A typhoon that has devastated islands in the Pacific is forecast to become a category 5 monster howler as it barrels toward the Philippines this week. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Maysak will be named Chedeng when it enters the Philippine area of responsibility tonight or tomorrow morning. In an interview, PAGASA weather forecaster Gener Quitlong said the forecast track of Maysak may still change depending on the movement of …

  • Philips Gold finally shines

    Philips Gold made 11 service aces on its way to beating Mane ‘N Tail, 25-19, 27-25, 25-16, for its first victory in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) All-Filipino Coinference Monday night at The Arena in San Juan.Former College of St. Benilde standout Rossan Fajardo had six aces as part of her 10-point output as the Lady Slammers finally barged into the win column after losing their first two matches.Ex-National University star Myla Pablo led Philips Gold with 14 points highlighted by 12 kills, …

  • Turkish Airlines starts direct Manila-Istanbul flights 3 times a week

    Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flag carrier, launched on March 30 its thrice weekly direct, non-stop flights between Istanbul and Manila at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and plans to operate a daily service between the two cities, eventually, announced Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmustur. Last November 2014, the Philippines and Turkey signed an expanded air services agreement granting Turkish carriers three frequencies per week to Manila and Clark. In accordance with …

  • Azkals bow to Bahrain

    The Philippine Azkals fell short in their bid to salvage a draw and fell 2-1 to Bahrain Monday night in an international friendly match at the Bahrain National Stadium in Manama. Faouzi Mubarak struck the opening goal for the home side in the 29th minute before Abdulla Yaser doubled the lead two minutes later with a booming shot from 25 yards out. Fil-German midfielder Manny Ott gave the Azkals a ray of hope when he scored from just outside the box in the 61st. National team Coach Thomas …

  • Alcalas dominate rivals

    In a brilliant show of power and speed, Mark Alcala downed fierce rival and Philippine team member Ross Leonard Pedroza, 21-16, 23-21, to win the men’s singles open title. Alcala lost her No. 1 ranking after focusing on her studies at the University of the Philippines, but she’s willing to sacrifice once again in order to represent the country in future international tournaments. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options