Turkish governor ‘bans’ elevators to curb obesity

The same official reportedly ordered cafes to serve tea one sugar cube instead of two

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A Turkish governor is attempting to reach new heights in his fight against obesity – by curbing elevator usage.

After reportedly ordering coffeehouses and restaurants to serve tea with one sugar cube instead of the traditional two, Dursun Ali Sahin, governor of the northwestern province of Edirne, recently ordered a ban on the use of elevators in the lower levels of state buildings.

Under the new rules, people will be forced to use the stairs for the first three floors – and presumably lose weight while doing so, according to local daily Today’s Zaman.

“We are initiating a practice of not using the elevator below the fourth floor due to health concerns,” Turkish media reported Sahin saying during a press conference this week.

“We are banning everyone, including the department heads of public institutions, from using elevators on the first three floors [of certain buildings] from now on, expect for the disabled and the elderly,” he said.

The ban came into effect on Dec. 31 last year but does not include hospitals and nursing homes, and people with special needs and the elderly will be exempt.

“This is a move to promote better health. Moreover, it will help to cut energy costs,” UK-based daily The Independent reported Sahin saying of the project, which is the first of its kind in Turkey.

"Taking the stairs instead of elevators can add an extra day to your life."

Obesity rates in Turkey saw a spike in recent years, with over 22 percent of adults classified as obese in 2011, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).