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Singapore Launches Four Prong Strategy To Combat Obesity

Singapore Launches Four Prong Strategy To Combat Obesity
November 9, 2010

The Government of Singapore's National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign (NHLC) 2010 aims to inspire everyone to take small steps towards health and happiness by getting 'Healthy Together' with family and friends.

Let's Get Healthy Together is this year's National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign (NHLC) 2010 rally call to inspire Singapore residents to take small and enjoyable steps with friends, family, colleagues at the workplace, or in the community, to fight obesity together.

NHLC 2010 focuses on obesity. It continues to build on the momentum generated in the past year which had focused on getting Singapore residents to know their Body Mass Index (BMI).

Singapore, similar to other developed countries the world over, faces an uphill challenge of fighting a rising prevalence of obesity.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also declared obesity to be a global epidemic and has been spearheading a series of consultations and awareness campaigns to raise awareness of the global rising trend of obesity.

The Challenge Ahead for Singapore
In Singapore, the National Health Survey (NHS) 2010 findings indicate a 0.65% annual increase in the prevalence of obesity over the past six years, from 6.9% in 2004 to 10.8% in 2010.

Although Singapore's obesity statistics are not as high compared to that of other developed countries, the Government of Singapore sees that failing to address the obesity issue now will result in severe consequences for public health.

Strategies and Framework for Obesity
The rise in obesity can be attributed broadly to a sedentary lifestyle as a greater proportion of Singapore residents are now engaged in more sedentary occupations.

Although more Singapore residents are engaging in moderate- and vigorous-intensity leisure-time exercises on a regular basis, more than half the population remain physically inactive and do not engage in any form of sports or exercise that lasted for at least 20 minutes per occasion.

For this reason, HPB has been developing and strengthening a comprehensive and holistic four-prong strategy to combat obesity: Policies and Guidelines; Education and Empowerment; Creating Supportive Environments; and Monitoring and Surveillance.

Policies and Guidelines
HPB has been and will continue to review and introduce new policies and guidelines across various aspects vital to create a healthy lifestyle. Some upcoming announcements and works slated for 2011 include Physical Activity Guidelines, not just for promotion of general well-being but also for obesity prevention and control; Guidelines on responsible food marketing to the young; Revisions to the Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) for Childhood Obesity; and the development of a Healthy Origins Program (HOPE) and Firm Foundations Program.

Education and Empowerment
HPB has always taken innovative and lifestyle approaches towards educating and empowering individuals with knowledge and tools in order to help them attain a healthy lifestyle. The Lose to Win® Challenge is a good example. In 2010, this popular weight management program extended its outreach from workplaces (first offered in 2009) into the community, and reached 865 participants.

93% of the total number of participants lost weight, and 99% had an improved fitness index.

Moving forward, HPB will be looking into developing a long-term sustainable weight management program within the community. We will also work with healthcare providers to put in place a referral system for their clients attending weight management clinics to be referred to the community weight management programme, upon their discharge.

In view of the changing lifestyle of Singapore residents, HPB has also developed a Diet Tracker application for mobile phones1. This complimentary downloadable application enables mobile users to find out the calorie and fat content of more than 450 foods, including popular Singaporean dishes, as well as fast food ...

View a YouTube video on the initiative at


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