Six-month campaign to battle diabetes

More than 50 health carnivals and events will be held across the island over the next six months as part of a campaign to fight diabetes.

The campaign, to raise awareness among Singaporeans about the chronic disease and encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles, will feature health screenings, fitness programmes, cooking workshops, talks and health-related courses.

Spearheaded by the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (Mesra), it will run till March next year.

About one in nine adults here aged 18 to 69 has diabetes. It is one of the diseases which has a disproportionate number of Malay sufferers.

Yesterday, the first such carnival was held at the Kolam Ayer Community Club in Geylang Bahru.

At the event, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, who is an adviser to Mesra, said: "Diabetes imposes lifelong demands on people living with the condition and their families.

"If it is left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can cause complications such as kidney failure, heart attack and stroke."

Dr Yaacob explained that such efforts to rally Singaporeans to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle must be a collective one.

Through the six-month campaign, Mesra hopes to reach out to more than 25,000 people. It also hopes Singaporeans can form small community support groups to look out for one another on health issues.

Dr Yaacob has asked Mesra to target efforts towards children as well, so that they can adopt a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Social and Family Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, who is an adviser to Mesra, also attended yesterday's launch event. He urged the Malay community to take on active lifestyles and choose healthier options.

Among those at yesterday's carnival was housewife Sukartini Amin, 57, who does activities such as brisk walking. "It is important for us to exercise and eat in moderation if we want to be healthy," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'Six-month campaign to battle diabetes'. Print Edition | Subscribe