Journal of Public Health

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 151–161 | Cite as

Determinants of obesity in Turkey: appetite or disease?

  • Okan DemirEmail author
  • Nuray Demir
  • Abdulbaki Bilgic
Original Article



This study examines the factors affecting obesity prevalence among adult individuals in Turkey using data obtained from the National Health Survey of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TSI).

Subjects and methods

Nowadays obesity is one of the world’s major health problems. Although the proportion of young people remains very high in Turkey, the prevalence of obesity is increasing daily. In this study, we used the National Health Survey data collected by the TSI in 2012. The research was carried out on 14,400 households in 12 regions of Turkey. The study covered socio-demographic characteristics of families and household heads, but included only observations made by household heads. We tested a bivariate probit model with sample selection, which was compatible with the data-generating process to exclude the inherent selection problem. We then applied a simple binary probit model to assess the likelihood of being obese among those who reported their body measures (height and weight).


The results indicated that living in a city, getting married, being female, being middle-aged, being depressed and having lower education levels increased the probability of obesity prevalence among Turkish subjects, while less obesity prevalence was associated with being male, being well educated, being a regular walker, being a smoker and living in a rural area.


When combating obesity in Turkey, social risk groups that are more likely to be obese should be identified and awareness training should be carried out for each group with suitable objectives and programs. The aim of such programs should be to encourage adequate and balanced nutrition and regular physical activity and to teach individuals about the adverse effects of obesity on health (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some types of cancer, hypertension, etc.).


Households Obesity Bivariate probit model Turkey 



This study was not covered by any grants.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. Abubakari A-R, Lauder W, Agyemang C, Jones M, Kirk A, Bhopal R (2008) Prevalence and time trends in obesity among adult west African populations: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev 9:297–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akil L, Ahmad HA (2011) Effects of socioeconomic factors on obesity rates in four southern states and Colorado. Ethn Dis 21:58Google Scholar
  3. Ankara HG (2016) Inequality analyses of obesity in Turkey. Inter J of Soc Scien and Human 6:742Google Scholar
  4. Arikan I, Karakaya K, Erata M, Tüzün H, Baran E, Göçmen L, Yesil HK (2014) Fighting obesity campaign in Turkey: evaluation of media campaign efficacy. Cent Eur J Public Health 22:170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Banterle A, Cavaliere A (2014) Is there a relationship between product attributes, nutrition labels and excess weight? Evidence from an Italian region. Food Policy 49:241–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berberoğlu M (2012) Children and adolescents lifestyle changes in obesity. Turk J Pediatr 1:81–85Google Scholar
  7. Beyaz FB, Koç AA (2009) Economics of obesity: Current situation, policies struggled and economic analyzes. EconAnatoliaGoogle Scholar
  8. Bilgic A (2010) Measuring willingness to pay to improve municipal water in southeast Anatolia, Turkey. Water Resour Res 46(12)Google Scholar
  9. Booth M, Macaskill P, Lazarus R, Baur L (1999) Sociodemographic distribution of measures of body fatness among children and adolescents in New South Wales, Australia. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 23(5):456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bray GA (1999) Nutrition and obesity: prevention and treatment. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 9:21–32Google Scholar
  11. Chamieh MC, Moore HJ, Summerbell C, Tamim H, Sibai AM, Hwalla N (2015) Diet, physical activity and socio-economic disparities of obesity in Lebanese adults: findings from a national study. BMC Public Health 15:279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chang H-H, Yen ST (2012) Association between obesity and depression: evidence from a longitudinal sample of the elderly in Taiwan. Aging Ment Health 16:173–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen Z, Yen ST, Eastwood DB (2005) Effects of food stamp participation on body weight and obesity. Am J Agric Econ 87:1167–1173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deckelbaum RJ, Williams CL (2001) Childhood obesity: the health issue. Obesity 9:S11Google Scholar
  15. Delibasi T, Karaaslan Y, Ustun I, Koroglu E, Hosgor S (2007) National prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity in Turkey: cross sectional study of a representative adult population. Cent Eur J Med 2:294–303Google Scholar
  16. Dinsa GD, Goryakin Y, Fumagalli E, Suhrcke M (2012) Obesity and socioeconomic status in developing countries: a systematic review. Obes Rev 13:1067–1079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Drewnowski A, Moudon AV, Jiao J, Aggarwal A, Charreire H, Chaix B (2014) Food environment and socioeconomic status influence obesity rates in Seattle and in Paris. Int J Obes 38:306–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Erbaş Ü (2007) Physical and physiological effects of calisthenic exercises for middle-aged obese women Unpublished Master Thesis Gazi University, Institute of Health Sciences, AnkaraGoogle Scholar
  19. Erem C (2015) Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Turkey. IJC Metab Endocr 8:38–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ergül Ş, Kaklim A (2011) An important chronic disease: obesity in childhood and adolescence. TAF Prev Med Bulletin 10:223–230Google Scholar
  21. Esmaeily H et al (2009) Association between socioeconomic factors and obesity in Iran. Pak J Nutr 8:53–56Google Scholar
  22. Gallus S, Odone A, Lugo A, Bosetti C, Colombo P, Zuccaro P, La Vecchia C (2013) Overweight and obesity prevalence and determinants in Italy: an update to 2010. Eur J Nutr 52:677–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Greene WH (2008) Econometric analysis, 2008, vol 24. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, pp 25–26Google Scholar
  24. Grujić V, Martinov-Cvejin M, Ač-Nikolić E, Dragnić N, Mijatović-Jovanović V, Kvrgić S, Travar S (2009) Association between obesity and socioeconomic factors and lifestyle. Vojnosanit Pregl 66:705–710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gültekin T, Özer BK, Akın G, Bektaş Y, Saǧir M, Güleç E (2009) Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Turkish adults. Anthropol Anz:205–212Google Scholar
  26. Gundogan K, Bayram F, Gedik V, Kaya A, Karaman A, Demir O, Coşkun R (2013) Metabolic syndrome prevalence according to ATP III and IDF criteria and related factors in Turkish adults. Arch Med Sci 9(2):243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hatemi H, Yumuk VD, Turan N, Arik N (2003) Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Turkey. Metab Syndr Relat Disord 1:285–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. İşeri A, Arslan N (2008) Obesity in adults in Turkey: age and regional effects. Eur J Pub Health 19:91–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. İskender M, Tura G, Akgül Ö, Turtulla S (2014) The relationship between the family environment, eating behavior and obesity for the secondary school students Orta okul öğrencilerinde aile ortamı, yeme tutumu ve obezite durumları arasındaki ilişki. J Hum Sci 11(2):10–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Karaoğlan D (2015) Essays on Education Gradient of Health in Turkey Unpublished Ph D Thesis Ankara, Turkey: Department of Economics, Middle East Technical UniversityGoogle Scholar
  31. Kasteridis P, Yen ST (2014) Occasional smoking and body weight among adults. Appl Econ Perspect Policy 36:479–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Koçoglu G, Ozdemir L, Sümer H, Demir DA, Cetinkaya S, Polat HH (2003) Prevalence of obesity among 11–14 year old students in Sivas-Turkey. Pak J Nutr 2:292–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kriaucioniene V, Petkeviciene J, Klumbiene J, Sakyte E, Raskiliene A (2016) Socio-demographic inequalities in overweight and obesity among Lithuanian adults: time trends from 1994 to 2014. Scand J Public Healt 44:377–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kuntz B, Lampert T (2010) Socioeconomic factors and obesity. Dtsch Arztebl Int 107:517Google Scholar
  35. Loureiro ML, Yen ST, Nayga RM Jr (2012) The effects of nutritional labels on obesity. Agric Econ 43:333–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maruf FA, Udoji NV (2015) Prevalence and socio-demographic determinants of overweight and obesity in a Nigerian population. J Epidemiol 25:475–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nichèle V, Yen ST (2016) Obesity and mental health among adults in France. J Public Health 24:387–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Onat A, Sansoy V, Ökçün B, Kahraman G, Dursunoğlu D (1996) Glucose intolerance and diabetes in Turkish adults. The Past and Present of Heart Health in Turkish Adults (TEKHARF Study), Character Color Printing House, Istanbul, p 103–111Google Scholar
  39. Onat A et al (1999) Obesity and central obesity indicators and their associations in our adults: increasing obsessive thinking that are appearent in men during 1990-1998. Turkish J of Card 27:209–217Google Scholar
  40. Onat A, Keles I, Sansoy V, Ceyhan K, Uysal Ö, Cetinkaya, Başar Ö (2001) The increase in obesity indicators in our 10-year follow-up of adults: body mass index as an independent predictor of coronary events in men. Turkish Soc of Card Arch 29:430–436Google Scholar
  41. Peker I, Çiloğlu F, Buruk Ş, Bulca Z (2000) Exercise biochemistry and obesity. Nobel Medical Book Houses, IstanbulGoogle Scholar
  42. Peytremann-Bridevaux I, Faeh D, Santos-Eggimann B (2007) Prevalence of overweight and obesity in rural and urban settings of 10 European countries. Prev Med 44:442–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Power C, Parsons T (2000) Nutritional and other influences in childhood as predictors of adult obesity proceedings of the nutrition. Society 59:267–272Google Scholar
  44. Power C, Lake JK, Cole TJ (1997) Measurement and long-term health risks of child and adolescent fatness. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 21Google Scholar
  45. Sanisoglu SY, Oktenli C, Hasimi A, Yokusoglu M, Ugurlu M (2006) Prevalence of metabolic syndrome-related disorders in a large adult population in Turkey. BMC Public Health 6:92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Satman I et al (2000) Epidemiology of diabetes and obesity in Turkey. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 50:142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sobal J, Stunkard AJ (1989) Socioeconomic status and obesity: a review of the literature. Psychol Bull 105:260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tan AK, Yen ST, Feisul MI (2012) Determinants of body weight status in Malaysia: an ethnic comparison. Int J Public Health 57:279–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tan AK, Yen ST, Feisul MI (2013) The association between smoking and body mass index: results from a national sample of Malaysian adults. J Public Health 21:403–412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tan AK, Wang Y, Yen ST, Feisul MI (2015) Physical activity and body weight among adults in Malaysia. Appl Econ Perspect Policy 38:318–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. TSI (2016) Press Room News / Obesity vol 58/2015. Turkey Statistical Institute, AnkaraGoogle Scholar
  52. Van de Ven WP, Van Praag BM (1981) The demand for deductibles in private health insurance: a probit model with sample selection. J Econ 17:229–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ward J, Friche AAL, Caiaffa WT, Proietti FA, Xavier CC, Roux AVD (2015) Association of socioeconomic factors with body mass index, obesity, physical activity, and dietary factors in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais state, Brazil: the BH Health study. Cad Saude Publica 31:182–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Yen ST (2012) Gender differences, physical activity and body weight. Appl Econ 44:3921–3934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Yen ST, Chen Z, Eastwood DB (2009) Lifestyles, demographics, dietary behavior, and obesity: a switching regression analysis. Health Serv Res 44:1345–1369CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural EconomicsAtatürk UniversityErzurumTurkey

Personalised recommendations