The Sunday Times says

Weighty trend not to be taken lightly

Singapore risks becoming a fat red dot within seven years, should obesity rates grow to 15 per cent. One in 10 children is already overweight by age five, and 42 per cent of men are overweight by the time they are in their 30s. At the tipping point, obesity will balloon into an epidemic.

The impact of obesity on individuals is considerable. Apart from coping with weight-related woes, their war on flab often appears unending, with joints and sinews aching as they push themselves to lose weight. A national impact is the higher incidence of chronic diseases caused by obesity, like diabetes and heart disease which can lead to stroke and organ failure.

Unfortunately, Singaporeans who love being in a foodie paradise will have to face the skinny on weight gain. They might allow themselves treats by rationalising that a weekend jog will help to burn off the calories. But the truth is: One cannot outrun fast food. Once the kilograms pile on, due to bad diets, "adult obesity is extremely difficult to reverse", as a health professional noted.

A recent study by the Health Promotion Board showed that while Singaporeans are exercising slightly more now compared with past years, alas, their eating habits are letting them down. Exercise confers many important benefits but the reality is that diet is the kingpin dictating one's overall health. Even those who are not overweight and do exercise regularly face the risk of chronic ailments when their food choices are poor.

Savour a great meal, by all means, but save a thought for the kinds of food that can make the body feel not so great. For instance, "sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger", as noted in the British Journal Of Sports Medicine. For every additional 150 calories in sugar that one ingests a day, the risk of diabetes rises 11-fold, whether we exercise or not. Some think they can beat the odds, but for many it would be a fat hope.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 25, 2017, with the headline 'Weighty trend not to be taken lightly'. Print Edition | Subscribe