Serkan Alan / DUVAR

One fifth of Turkey’s population is considered “obese” and the average weight of the population is at 73.5 kilograms (162 lbs), a main opposition deputy said in a report, attesting the phenomenon on the shortage of preventative healthcare in Turkey.

The report by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi revealed that the percentage of obesity in Turkish society was at 16.9 percent in 2010 and spiked by one third in the past decade, reaching 21.1 percent.

İlgezdi’s report also showed that the percentage of society who weigh within a “normal” range was at 48.2 percent in 2008, dropping to 40.1 in 2019.

Meanwhile, the increase in the average weight of the population was more or less homogeneously distributed across age groups, with each observing a bump of around two kilos (about five lbs) since 2008.

Noting that the increase in the Turkish population’s average weight is caused by a lack of preventative health policies, Ilgezdi slammed the government’s re-organization of the healthcare system.

“Those who used a “healthcare reform” as a pretense to turn health services into a commercial meta didn’t take preventative measures, which is why obesity rose,” Ilgezdi said.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has implemented numerous policies that privatized a lot of services within the healthcare industry, privatized management of community health centers and that of public hospitals.

The lawmaker said that neglecting community health centers, not offering informative sessions about obesity and low employment of nutritional experts and dietitians were the main cause of the spike in obesity.

Noting that children’s weight gain is correlational with starting school, the deputy encouraged the Health Ministry to collaborate with the Education Ministry to educate students.