site.btaObesity in Bulgaria, Trend Survey

Obesity in Bulgaria, Trend Survey
Obesity in Bulgaria, Trend Survey
Obesity Coalition Photo

Around 40% of Bulgarians have a body mass index (BMI) above the healthy level, and 36% suffer from obesity. First-degree obesity affects 25% of the Bulgarian population, second-degree obesity - 9%, and third-degree obesity - 2%. This is according to data from a nationally representative sociological survey conducted by the Trend research centre. The results were presented Tuesday at a press conference on "The burden of obesity in personal, social and economic terms", organizers from the Obesity Coalition said.

The study aims to track the extent to which obesity affects public life and the economic sphere in Bulgaria. 

The data shows that 49% of Bulgarians have been overweight for more than five years and 12% for more than 20 years.

According to the survey, 48% of respondents have tried to lose weight and 42% have made more than four attempts. Six out of ten people have tried the most common methods related to eating regimens. Four in ten people have lost weight with physical activity, 23% with over-the-counter weight loss products, and 6% of respondents have used a drug specifically for excess weight.

The comorbidities of obesity are varied. High blood pressure was cited by 46% of respondents, 23% cited high cholesterol, and 21% complained of joint-related health conditions. High blood sugar was mentioned by 14%, while 11% suffered from sleep apnea.

Our survey shows that 2,200,000 adult Bulgarians have a body mass index above the healthy range, said Dimitar Ganev, political scientist and co-founder of Trend. Besides being a health issue, overweight also affects household economics: 5% of Bulgarians were absent from work because of a health problem related to weight. This absence is regular and for 39% is repeated every few months, he added.

Arkadi Sharkov, a health economist, talked about the economic impact of obesity. He said that treating obesity-related diseases is expensive, as it is associated with the most common chronic diseases and causes of death.

According to Global Obesity Observatory data cited by Sharkov, as of 2019, the economic impact of overweight and obesity in Bulgaria is estimated at BGN 5.23 billion, or BGN 747 per capita and 4.3% of GDP.

Obesity costs nearly BGN 500 million of Bulgaria’s health budget, according to preliminary estimates, the health economist said.

The prevalence of obesity will continue to rise among both adults and children unless a comprehensive approach is taken by health authorities, the experts warned. They said the National Health Strategy 2030 has identified obesity as one of the top priorities facing this country and requires the urgent launch of a national obesity control programme.

Obesity is a chronic, relapsing, progressive disease process. It is not a lifestyle choice resulting from increased appetite, but a disease caused by a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors, as well as certain other diseases. This explanation was given by Dr. Yavor Asov, an endocrinologist at the Alexandrovska University Hospital. According to him, mutations in over 200 genes have been identified that lead to a predisposition to overweight and obesity.

Obesity in teenagers and young adults poses a risk of stroke in old age. Researchers suggest health professionals should address overweight in young people and encourage healthy eating and physical activity from an early age.

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By 18:54 on 13.07.2024 Today`s news

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