WHO study ranks Turkey first in obesity in Europe with 32 percent

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TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY BURAK AKINCI This photo taken on July 10, 2012, in Ankara shows people at a traditional "doner" fast food restaurant. In Turkey 35% of the population has accumulated excess body fat to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. The Turkish health ministry has launched a campaign calling on Turks to be more active. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkey leads Europe in obesity with 32.1 percent of its population obese, according to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Europe, Turkey was followed by Malta with 28.9 percent and the UK with 27.8 percent. Hungary came in fourth with 26.4 percent and Lithuania took the fifth spot with 26.3 percent.

Turkey was ranked 27th among all the countries included in the study, while the Cook Islands took the lead in that ranking with 50 percent.

Published on the WHO’s website on Tuesday, the research assessed data on around 900 million people in 53 countries on the basis of height and weight.

Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or over, mainly caused by lack of exercise, poor diet or excessive consumption of alcohol.

The organization asserts that obesity increases the risk of stroke, high cholesterol, high blood sugar and diabetes as well as heart disease that leads to premature death. Experts recommend a balanced diet and exercise to avoid it.

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