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Keywords:

  • Life-cycle approach;
  • obesity prevention and management;
  • Singapore

Summary

Singapore's obesity prevalence among adult Singapore residents aged 18–69 increased from 6.9% (2004) to 10.8% (2010). Among school-going children, the prevalence of overweight and severely overweight (body weight > 120% standard weight for height) increased from 1.4% (1976) to 12.7% (2006) for primary 1 students, and 2.2% to 15.9% for primary 6 students. Fundamentally, obesity is a function of excess energy intake (food consumption) and insufficient energy expenditure (physical activity). In 2010, about 40% did not have sufficient physical activity, and about 60% consumed excess energy. For students in the mainstream schools, only a fifth consumed at least two servings of fruits and vegetables every day, and a tenth were physically active for at least 60 min on 5 or more days a week. From a public health perspective, the most powerful levers for influencing population health lie in interventions that make healthy living convenient and an unconscious choice by targeting the social and environmental context. Recognizing this, the Health Promotion Board has in recent years made a strategic shift away from just public education campaigns aimed at individual behaviours, to focus on creating a ground-up social movement to enable and empower individuals to live out a healthy lifestyle.