A representative sociological survey by Trend Agency reveals that 40% of Bulgarians are obese, with 25% of individuals having the highest first degree of the disease. The situation is also worsening among children, with Bulgaria ranking second in Central Europe for obesity prevalence, now affecting children as young as 3-4 years old.

Three years ago, Svetla Alexandrova weighed nearly 110 kilograms, gaining 30 kilograms in just one year. She then began her journey to weight loss.

“Since starting treatment with a therapy from a doctor, which focuses on movement and healthy eating, I managed to lose over 20 kilograms in the first year. Now, I am continuing to work on losing the remaining weight,” said Alexandrova in front of BNT.

Obesity is not just a medical issue but an economic one, costing Bulgaria about 500 million leva annually. Health economist Arkady Sharkov explains that this includes costs for treating obesity-related diseases, social costs, and lost workdays.

Being overweight is primarily due to poor eating habits and lack of physical activity. In children, obesity is being observed at increasingly younger ages.

“Previously, it affected children around 6-7 years old, but now it’s down to 3-4 years. Parents need to ensure their children are active and that their environments are safe for play. Also, the amount of sleep time in kindergartens should be reduced,” said Prof. Violeta Yotova, a pediatric endocrinologist at “Sveta Marina” hospital in Varna.

Doctors also note that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted child obesity, as their physical activity was greatly limited during this period.