In a novel attempt to tackle the problems of obesity in his country, a governor in Turkey has taken the interesting stance of restricting the access to the first three elevators in a public building. His advice to people seems to be that they should take the stairs instead.

Dursun Ali Sahin, head of the province of Edirne in northwestern Turkey, issued the ban from New Year’s Eve in response to what he perceived as health concerns, and from now on only the disabled and elderly people will be permitted to use the elevators in certain buildings. The ban does not extend to hospitals and nursing homes, with supervisers being put in place to ensure compliance in the public buildings affected.

Sahin has also expressed his wish to extend the ban to the private sector in his province if at all possible, stating that: "Taking the stairs instead of elevators can add an extra day to your life."

It is not the first time that Sahin has attempted to tackle health issues in his country, as back in September he allegedly ordered cafes and restaurants to reduce the number of sugar cubes that people had in their tea from what is traditionally accepted as two to only one. While governor in another Turkish province, he attempted to cut down on the amount of salt being ingested by requiring restaurants to remove salt shakers. That was in response to reports that the amount of salt being taken in was five times above the levels that the World Health Organisation recommended.

The Turks do have reason to be concerned about levels of obesity, given that a recent Turkish Health Ministry survey suggested that obesity rates may be as high as 30 percent (although OECD figures in 2011 had that figure nearer 22 percent).

Obesity is not just a concern in Turkey though as more and more countries are worried about the types and amounts of food that the public are consuming. The celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver has frequently attempted to highlight and tackle the issue of child obesity in Britain and only last year invited the deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg for talks to discuss the matter, even going so far as to postulate that sugar should be taxed in a similar fashion to tobacco.

On the American-owned island of American Samoa in the Pacific Ocean, part of the Samoan archipelago chain, the issue is even more obvious. The population there have been ranked as being the most obese in the world, estimates suggesting that there may be as high as 94 percent obesity. It has prompted action from both the public and private sector, with one airline going as far as weighing every passenger with their luggage and charging them accordingly. The healthcare sector has attempted to encourage people on the island to lead more healthy lives to hopefully avoid later health issues as they get older.

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