site.btaExperts Launch Awareness Campaign against Obesity across Bulgaria

Experts Launch Awareness Campaign against Obesity across Bulgaria
Experts Launch Awareness Campaign against Obesity across Bulgaria
Deputy Health Minister Mihail Okoliyski (left) and Prof. Teodora Durlenska at the National Press Club of BTA in Sofia (BTA Photo)

An awareness campaign on obesity and how to deal with it will be held in six Bulgarian cities on the occasion of the World Obesity Day - March 4.  Due to start at the beginning of March, the campaign is organized by the World Obesity Federation, with Bulgaria participating for the second year in a row, representatives of the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation told the press at the National Press Club of BTA in Sofia on Tuesday.

The first part of the initiative includes lectures and meetings with specialists, popular public figures, as well as sports activities in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Stara Zagora and Pleven. In the second part of the campaign, meetings will be held in over 35 schools across the country.

Lidiya Delcheva, Chairwoman of the Association of Medical Students in Bulgaria, said that the national campaign aims to increase public awareness of obesity and the consequences on health. "We urge society to recognize obesity as a disease and treat it as one. Let's act on obesity prevention and control," she said.

Deputy Health Minister Mihail Okoliyski said that the Health Ministry plans to introduce health education classes in Bulgarian schools. He presented data form 2022, according to which seven out of every 1,000 children aged 6 years and nearly 22 out of every 1,000 children between 7 – 19 years were found to be overweight. He said that the lack of motivation to follow a healthy diet and exercise is one of the main reasons for obesity among young people.

Blagovesta Borcheva, State Expert in the Inclusive Education Directorate of the Ministry of Education and Science, pointed out that funding for the healthy breakfast program in kindergartens has been increased by nearly 12% in 2023.

Prof. Teodora Durlenska, Chair of the Bulgarian Association for the Study of Obesity and Related Diseases, said that data shows that 61% of the population in Bulgaria over the age of 18 are overweight or obese, but society does not consider it a disease. According to her, obesity is a lifelong chronic disease which leads to more than 250 different complications, the most common of which are cardiovascular. If a child is obese in early childhood, they have a 50% risk of developing a cardiovascular disease at a later age. Bad eating habits and lack of exercise are among the main reasons for this, said Prof. Durlenska.

Prof. Arman Postajian, Chair of the Bulgarian Hypertension League, confirmed that there is a clear connection between excessive weight and arterial hypertension. Conducting preventive examinations can control the problem of overweight and obesity, he said.

According to WHO data, 32% of children between the ages of 5 and 15 in Bulgaria are obese, which places the country among the ten leading countries with an increased level of overweight and obesity. 

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By 04:58 on 15.04.2024 Today`s news

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