Hundreds across Turkey participated yesterday in Walking Day events, organized by the Health Ministry to promote the fight against obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
Participants of all ages, from school students to senior citizens, took 10,000 steps in marches across Turkey's 81 provinces.
A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report identified four in 10 Turks as obese. WHO defines obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30, meaning more than 87 kilograms for someone measuring 1.7 meters.
According to the obesity update of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2017, Turkey is among the top 10 most obese countries.
Speaking prior to the Walk Day event in Ankara's Sincan district, Deputy Health Minister Muhammet Güven said obesity was not a standalone problem but also the cause of other problems, like heart diseases, stroke, and diabetes. "This event looks to raise awareness on a healthier and more active lifestyle, especially for children," he said. Güven added that eating healthy is an important factor in fighting obesity and warned families to keep their children away from junk food. "We have already banned the sale of junk food at schools and we call families to encourage their children to eat healthy," he said.
Since 2013, Turkey has implemented health promotion campaigns like, "Move for Health" and "Reducing Portion Sizes." Complementary to these, Turkey has launched the "Promoting Physical Activity Project" with thousands of bicycles distributed to schools, universities, municipalities and NGOs for children to use.