Poly's new nutrition courses target diabetes

Participants such as Mr Michael Lee (left) and Madam Helen Chua (second from left), both Diabetic Society of Singapore members, preparing ingredients during the cooking session for the course on nutrition therapy for the prevention and management of
Participants such as Mr Michael Lee (left) and Madam Helen Chua (second from left), both Diabetic Society of Singapore members, preparing ingredients during the cooking session for the course on nutrition therapy for the prevention and management of diabetes yesterday. With them is Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran (right).ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Temasek Polytechnic (TP) has launched two new one-day courses on nutrition, reinforcing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's rallying call last Sunday for Singaporeans to take care of their health and start making lifestyle changes. 

Yesterday, 15 participants, including healthcare professionals and caregivers, participated in a course on nutrition therapy for the prevention and management of diabetes. 

Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran, domain lead for applied nutrition and glycaemic index research at TP, said the course will help educate the public to adopt healthy eating habits in preventing diabetes and other chronic diseases. 

"The backbone of any nation depends on the health of its people," said the senior lecturer. "If we are strong and are not prone to any diseases, then our Government need not spend a huge sum on fighting the complications of diabetes, most of which are debilitating."

Participants learnt about healthier food choices when eating out, picked up tips on carbohydrate- counting and meal-planning, and also got to cook dishes using healthier ingredients such as brown rice. 

The new course comes against the backdrop of Mr Lee's National Day Rally speech, where he highlighted diabetes as a health crisis.

In his speech, he advised Singaporeans to get their health checked, exercise more and watch what they eat, so as to reduce their diabetes risk.

Roughly 400,000 Singapore residents have diabetes, and a significant proportion of them do not even know it. Its complications can lead to medical problems ranging from kidney failure to blindness and even impotency in men. 

The other course offered by TP - nutrition for optimum health - covers basic nutrition, weight management and menu-planning strategies, and provides recommendations to optimise exercise performance. 

Ms Ling Tan, 39, who attended yesterday's course, said she is hoping to kick some habits such as indulging in desserts and cakes.

"The course has given me basic nutrition knowledge as well as an insight into preparing healthier meals," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 27, 2017, with the headline 'Poly's new nutrition courses target diabetes'. Print Edition | Subscribe