Diabetes scourge: Action must follow awareness

The report "Hooked on white rice, but some ready to change diet" (May 6) appears to have had some impact. At my neighbourhood FairPrice supermarket one morning, I saw a few customers checking out the brown rice section and discussing which is the better brand.

Singaporeans must understand that fighting diabetes costs us over $1 billion a year, and that it is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

A close relative of mine was diagnosed with diabetes at age 40 and had his leg amputated at age 80. The link between diabetes and leg amputation has since been embedded in my mind.

Advice such as take less white rice and sugar, and exercise more is easier said than done. But we need to take action now.

The 2010 National Health Survey showed that the percentage of residents aged between 18 and 69 years old with diabetes rose from 8.2 per cent in 2004 to 11.3 per cent in 2010 and that the prevalence of the disease increased with age, with 29.1 per cent for those aged 60 to 69 years old suffering from it.

With more than 400,000 people in Singapore diagnosed as diabetics, the proportion of sufferers is likely higher than in 2010.

Gan Kok Tiong