The Health Promotion Board (HPB) of Singapore reported that “1.7 million Singaporeans with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23 or greater are vulnerable to developing obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases.” It is also likely that the 1.7million people with BMI above 23 already suffers from pre-diabetes or suffer from at least one chronic obesity-related disease, such as diabetes.

According to the Singapore Burden of Diseases study, obesity-related diseases tend to have huge impact on health in terms of suffering and cost. Having a high body mass index is also the largest single contributor to the national disease burden of diabetes. The number of diabetics among Singaporeans is set to increase if the nation’s obesity rate continues to trend upwards.

WOG Healthier Drinks Policy

In an effort to reduce intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), the Singapore government has taken the initiative by making healthier and lower-sugar drinks in government premises. This initiative (WOG healthier drinks policy) fosters a supportive environment for Singaporeans to adopt a healthier diet.

What is the WOG Healthier Drinks Policy?

Under the WOG Healthier Drinks Policy, all beverages sold or provided at government premises have to adhere with the guidelines of this policy. In order to ensure a level playing field, this policy applies throughout the premises which includes all vending machines, retail stores and outlets, offices and beverages procured by agencies for office pantries.

Singaporeans are 3 kg heavier than 15 years ago

According to Dr Annie Ling, who is director of the policy, research and surveillance division at the HPB, “Singaporeans are, on average, 3kg heavier today than they were 15 years ago. The median body mass index (BMI) score for adults last year was 23.15 – just outside the healthy range, and above the 2001 median of 22.23.”

The HPB also found that while Singaporeans have increased their amount of exercise, the calorie intake has increased significantly as well. Unfortunately, the calorie intake outweighs beyond the amount of exercise in many Singaporeans.

“In contrast, the average Singaporean is consuming more calories than ever before, and more likely to exceed the recommended daily intake. In 1998, people consumed 2,062 calories a day on average, with a third of them eating more than the recommended amount. By 2010, they were consuming 2,624 calories daily. Six in 10 were exceeding their recommended intake.”