Make healthier eating cheaper

According to one International Diabetes Federation report, Singapore is among the top 10 nations when it comes to high rates of impaired glucose tolerance.

This is one honour which we can do without.

The Health Promotion Board is doing a wonderful job in educating the public about the risks of both obesity and diabetes.

Its Healthier Choice Symbol programme for both products and services has nudged many people into picking healthier food.

Going by rising obesity and diabetes rates, more has to be done ("Rising obesity among young set to worsen diabetes rate"; Feb 22).

One drastic step that Singapore can consider is to tax foods which are proven contributors to obesity and diabetes.

Some countries, such as Mexico, have already introduced a sugar tax. The World Health Organisation has also called for such action.

I call upon the Singapore Government to go even further by providing incentives for people to opt for common healthier food items, such as wholegrain products.

Certain food products, such as organic brown rice, oats and buckwheat, have been proven to be effective in reducing obesity and diabetes. Why not subsidise the cost of these items and provide them as cheaper options?

The implementation of such a policy will not be easy, but this should not be an excuse for not trying to find ways to do it.

After all, healthcare costs for the country arising from sky-high diabetes rates would be massive if the issue is not tackled.

Ben Chen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2016, with the headline 'Make healthier eating cheaper'. Print Edition | Subscribe