the increasing waistlines of Singaporeans.

Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid from Channel News Asia reports that the problem of obesity is getting worse in Singapore:

The latest National Health Survey shows the obesity rate has increased from 6.9 per cent in 2004 to 10.8 per cent this year.

This year’s National Healthy Lifestyle campaign is thus adopting a more holistic approach to help Singaporeans fight the flab.

More than 1,000 people turned up at the launch of the campaign by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

They tried out the new Singapore Workout that includes traditional dance moves.

The message is for Singaporeans to get healthy together and combat obesity.

Health Promotion Board (HPB) CEO Lam Pin Woon said: “Based on the National Health Survey, the obesity rate is definitely on the upturn.

“This is very alarming for us; we do not want to be in the same situation like the other western countries where the obesity rate is that one in three of the population is obese.

“For now, our obesity rate is (about) 10 per cent – that’s already very alarming, and we have to do something about it.

“This year, we want to create a social movement (and) get everyone to see the value of having a healthy weight (and) enjoy life by being healthy”.

The HPB attributes the rise in obesity here to a lack of physical activity and a more sedentary lifestyle.

The National Health Survey found that 45.9 per cent of Singaporeans do not exercise.

Mr Neville Dotival, who lost about 18kg over three months to weigh 88.8kg, said: “I feel a lot better, I feel more energetic, I can play more with my kids.

He added that he is now fit enough to join his sons in activities during school events such as Sports Day.

HPB’s Youth Health Division director K Vijaya said: “There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that chronic disease including obesity has its roots in pre-natal and the early developmental stages of one’s life.

“As a result of this evidence, we are shifting our obesity prevention efforts further upstream, to the pre-natal and early years of one’s life.

“We will be empowering parents to nurture health lifestyles, among their children.

“We are coming up with guidelines, strategies to provide a conducive environment for this purpose such as baby friendly hospitals that support breast feeding.

“In addition, we will be coming up with guidelines to prevent indiscriminate advertising of food and beverages to children”.

Other efforts include getting those from the food industry to develop lower calorie food products and meals, to cut some 25 billion kilocalories from Singapore’s food supply by 2013.

HPB also intends to roll out a nationwide Body Mass Index survey every two to three years to better monitor obesity trends.


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