HomeNews EventsNewsThe Value of Prevention in the War on Diabetes

The Value of Prevention in the War on Diabetes

25 Apr 2016

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong recently declared a war on diabetes, a disease which estimates suggest will affect 1 million Singaporeans by 2050 if nothing is done to reverse this trend. Research conducted by the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and University of Southern California also estimates the cost of diabetes in the working population to exceed $2.5 billion by 2050. 

MInister Gan identified five fronts on which the war on diabetes would be fought - prevention, screening, control, education and stakeholders' engagement - shifting away from an emphasis on the treatment of diabetes without taking stakeholders into consideration. 

Professor Chia Kee Seng, Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Dr Benjamin Ng, President of the College of Public Health and Occupational Physicians, note this paradigm shift on the importance of prevention, which targets main factors such as unhealthy diet and inadequate exercise. These can be brought about by environmental changes at the macro level and behavioural changes at the individual level. To this end, many of our upcoming national developments will be constructed to create "healthy living as a default", making it easier for an individual to adopt healthier lifestyles. More efforts can also be made to engage the food and beverage industry actively to encourage healthy eating habits. 


Many of Singapore's upcoming national-level developments promote an increase in physical activity as part of daily living. They include having homes within 400m of a park, the opening of reservoir areas and waterways for recreational activities, going "car-lite" and providing cycling paths. Photo credit: The Straits Times / Lim Yaohui

Media Coverage:

  • The Straits Times Opinion, 23 April 2016, Saturday

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