Addressing the press on Wednesday, Akdağ spoke about the ministry's new campaign to combat obesity in Turkey. Stating that the disease of obesity has become an epidemic not only in Turkey but all over the world, Akdağ added that the aim of the ministry is to raise public awareness regarding the issue of obesity and create a healthier society.
About the ministry's action plan to prevent obesity, Akdağ stated that family practitioners will monitor their patients' weight, inform them about the high risks of weight-related diseases and help them with weight control. Family practitioners will also distribute pedometers to their patients. Furthermore, the ministry will use advertisements to raise people's awareness of the importance of taking regular body mass index (BMI) tests.
“About 3 million people per year lose their lives due to weight-related diseases worldwide. Lack of physical activity and excessive weight cause many diseases. What should be done in order to reduce the risk of developing obesity? People should avoid foods rich in flour and sugar. People should eat less in general. People should not eat when they are not hungry and should stop eating before they are full. People should also do at least half an hour of walking a day,” Akdağ explained.
Stating that eating less and having a much more active life are crucial to combating obesity, Akdağ noted that he lost 10 kilograms one year by eating less although he was eating whichever foods he wished.
Giving further details about the prevalence of obesity in Turkey, Akdağ stated that Erzurum is the province which has the lowest rate in the country. The eastern Anatolia region has the lowest BMI results with BMI of 20 to 21 -- normal weight ranges from 18.5-24.9 -- and the southeastern Anatolia region, with BMI of 23 to 24, ranks second in that respect. “This results from the fact that people in the eastern Anatolia region and the southeastern Anatolia region [where most people live in rural areas] have more active lives compared to people living in the western parts of Turkey,” Akdağ said.