Obesity is a chronic disease characterized by an increase in body fat mass compared to lean body mass, resulting from the fact that the energy taken into the body with food is more than the energy spent. In other words, it is excessive accumulation of fat in the body.

• Is obesity a disease?

It is a deadly disease and is the second leading preventable cause of death after smoking. Studies have shown that the incidence of many diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, blood pressure disease, gout, bone and joint diseases, lung diseases, varicose veins and blood coagulation disorders and cancer increases in patients with excess obesity. The life expectancy of obese patients is 5-15 years less than those of normal weight.

• What are the causes of obesity?

First of all, malnutrition. Especially in childhood, it is very important for parents not to force their children when they are full and to keep children away from harmful foods as much as possible. Eating fast-food type foods is one of the most important causes of obesity in young people and children. Of course, the increase in obesity prevalence cannot be avoided in a society that spends a lot of time in front of television and computer, does not exercise, and always prefers transportation instead of walking.

• What percentage of Turkish people are overweight?

Approximately 70% of the population in Turkey is overweight (people with a BMI between 25-30). About 30% of the population is obese (BMI over 30). In other words, approximately 20 million of our people are exposed to obesity. Approximately 3-4% of the population has morbid obesity, that is, their BMI is over 40 and has life-threatening obesity.

• What kind of measures are taken in Turkey in terms of obesity?

Since obesity is a problem that starts from childhood, not only in adults, the Ministry of National Education has banned the sale of fast food in school canteens. The Ministry of Health also continues its projects to open obesity centers. Since obesity is a preventable disease and we have similar rates of obese patients in Turkey as in the United States, it is aimed to raise public awareness on this issue and to emphasize the importance of proper nutrition and exercise in order to prevent the disease before it occurs.

• What can be done for the treatment of obesity?

1. The patient with obesity should consult a doctor and his treatment should be arranged.

2. A personalized diet and exercise should be arranged.

3. Treatments can also be recommended to increase the person’s compliance with the diet, to reduce the feeling of hunger and snacking, to create a feeling of satiety.

How is the degree of obesity determined in medicine?

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body weight assessment.

Body mass index (BMI) is calculated by dividing body weight by the square of height.

Weight(kg) / height(m2)

BMI 18-24.9 Normal

BMI 25-29.9 Overweight

BMI 30 –34.9 Slightly obese /class I

BMI 35-39.9 Severely obese / class II

BMI 40-49.9 Morbidly obese / class III

What diseases can obesity cause?

It can cause many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, reflux, sleep apnea, fatty liver, polycystic ovarian disease, sexual problems and psychological depression, lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem.

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