Target younger Singaporeans for health screenings

Since the Prime Minister's strong message about health in his National Day Rally speech, there has been a palpable ramp-up in community health screenings.

From media coverage, it appears that the people who show up at these community health screenings are predominantly senior citizens.

This is good but not nearly enough to change the trajectory of chronic disease burden in the population.

To have an impact, organisers of these health screenings need to attract and screen more of those between 30 and 40 years old.

This group has a longer runway to avert chronic diseases that stem from factors such as obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

These precursors of cardiovascular diseases or diabetes need to be arrested early to prevent disease development.

Success of these health screening efforts should be measured by key metrics such as target attendees' age and what follow-up actions are taken when there are red-flagged items.

It is not an exaggeration to say that we are in a dire situation when it comes to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

We have long passed the point where soft measures of generating awareness, education and screening are adequate.

Lim Teck Koon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2017, with the headline 'Target younger Singaporeans for health screenings'. Print Edition | Subscribe