The obesity rate reaches its highest level since 2010; Department of Health urges public to exercise and eat healthier diets

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SINGAPORE: Singapore’s obesity rate has reached its highest level since 2010, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Nov. 18), as it urged residents to increase their physical activity and eat more diet. healthy.

Binge drinking has also increased among residents over the past year, especially among men and young adults.

The data was published in the Department of Health’s annual National Population Health Survey on Thursday, November 18. The survey, conducted between July 2019 and March 2020 from a representative sample of residential addresses, tracks health and risk factors, as well as lifestyles of Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 18 to 74. .

Although fieldwork was curtailed by COVID-19, the health ministry said this did not substantially affect the results and managed to get a “very good” size of sample of approximately 6000 adults for household interviews and 5000 adults for health examinations.

However, the Department of Health acknowledged that the investigation failed to capture the subsequent impact of COVID-19 as the investigation was halted in March of last year.

OBESITY ON THE RISE

Among its findings, the survey found that over the period from 2019 to 2020, 10.5% of Singapore residents were obese. This is the same level of obesity as in 2010.

In comparison, the crude prevalence of obesity was 8.6% in 2013 and 2017, when obesity data was collected.

“The increases in the prevalence of obesity between 2017 and 2019-2020 were mainly seen among people aged 50 to 74, men and Malays,” the report says.

More than two in 10 respondents, or 20.7%, also had a high-risk body mass index (BMI), according to the survey, up from 18.7% in 2017.

Similar to the prevalence of obesity, there was a higher proportion of men (22.6%) with a high-risk BMI than of women (18.8%). Malays (38.7%) and Indians (31.8%) had a higher proportion of high-risk BMI than the Chinese (16.1%).

The survey also found that fewer Singapore residents engaged in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week – the level recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) – last year. .

According to the report, 76.4% of those surveyed reached the recommended level in 2020, “significantly lower” than the 80.9% recorded in 2017.

This, the health ministry said, despite a 4 percentage point increase in the number of people who engage in regular exercise in their leisure time, which refers to any sport or exercise for 20 minutes or more at least three days a week.

“An observed increase in the prevalence of obesity and a high-risk BMI has the potential to increase the risk of developing chronic diseases. Besides genetic factors, obesity can also result from a lack of physical activity and unhealthy diet, ”said the Ministry of Health.


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