Problems with Bulgarian population’s diet

Feeding is an integral part of a population’s culture. The feeding model and the attitude towards food in general has been built and developed through the ages up to modern times. Of course, this development is related to the achievements of scientific and technical progress and is conformed to the populations’ customs and experience. 
Feeding has proven to be a factor impacting any individual’s quality of life. With children it is essential for growth, the development of organs, the building of tissues and the performance of the organisms’ fnctions. With adults it is necessary to both maintain organs, tissues and functions of their organisms, and a mature individual’s quality of living – health and working capacity.

Insufficient energy and nutrients intake from food, as well as any imbalanced or excessive intake have negative consequences for any organsm’s health, growth and development. 
The National representative studies of Bulgarian population’s feeding and nutritional status performed during the last 20 years have revealed the existing positive and negative characteristics and trends that can be related to the population’s health.

The negative characteristics and trends in the population’s nutrition are:

  • High intake of fats – both of animal origin (grease, butter), and of plant origin (sunflower oil, margarine);
  • Low fish consumption;
  • Low consumption of whole-grain bread and products;
  • Low consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables during winter and spring;
  • Low consumption of yoghurt, mostly yoghurt with high fat content are consumed;
  • Considerable use of table salt (2-3 times more than recommended);
  • High consumption of alcohol among some population groups;
  • Low intake of some vitamins (folate, vitamins В1, В2, С);
  • Low intake of some minerals (iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium).

The abovementioned characteristics are represented to a different extent by the various population risk groups.

Parents’ feeding model has a significant impact, either positive or negative, in the formation of children’s eating habits and determines their eating behavior in later stages of life.

Unhealthy eating model and lack of physical activity are powerful factors that contribute to the high rate of obesity of the population. It is a proven risk factor for the emergence of the so called civilization diseases or chronic non-infectional diseases: cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and osteoporosis.

The data show that in the latest decades Bulgariahas taken one of the first places of stroke death in the world. Cancers come second as the reason for the death rate in Bulgaria. 
The frequency of overweight (incl. obesity) among people between 30 and 60 years is more than 60 % among men and more than 50 % among women of the same age. Among people between 18 and 30 years it is respectively 34 % among women and 27% among men. Among first-grade students overweight rate is high – 30,6%. Among students between 7 and 18 years of age, it is respectively 14% for girls, and 22 % for boys. The lowest overweight and obesity rate is among children between 1 and 5 years inBulgaria, as evidenced by the data from the National representative studies of Bulgarian population’s feeding performed by the National Center of Public Health and Analyses.