$5 subsidised health screening available for younger Singaporeans found at risk of diabetes

A top view of the Let's Beat Diabetes roadshow at One Raffles Place on Sept 19, 2017. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - Younger Singaporeans can now qualify for subsidised health screening if they are found to be at risk of diabetes after completing an online questionnaire.

Those aged 18 to 39 need to pay at most $5, if they are found to be at risk by the Ministry of Health's Diabetes Risk Assessment (DRA) tool at the online health portal HealthHub.

Those eligible will qualify for health screening for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, under the enhanced Screen for Life health screening programme.

About 15,000 Singaporeans have checked their diabetes risk through the self-assessment test since it was rolled out on Sept 1.

Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong, who was the guest of honour at the opening of a roadshow at One Raffles Place to encourage more people to do the self-assessment, said that the tool is targeted primarily at this group.

"While most of us think that age is a key factor for diabetes... age is not the only factor. Depending on your family history and lifestyle, these are also very important risk factors," he said on Tuesday (Sept 19).

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"I think it's very important for us to have a very targeted approach to this younger group, to help them identify whether they are among the high-risk group, and to take action against it."

The test consists of eight questions for women and seven for men that take into account factors such as age, gender, family history of diabetes, body mass index and personal history of hypertension.

With this information, an individual's current risk of undiagnosed diabetes is assessed. The result does not reflect lifetime risk, as a person's risk may vary with changes in some of the factors.

The initiative is part of the ministry's disease prevention efforts, which also include awareness campaigns and a $20 million investment to promote healthier ingredients, first announced in March.

The health screening subsidies are available for up to five conditions - diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cervical and colorectal cancers.

The DRA tool is accessible on HealthHub at www.letsbeatdiabetes.sg/dra

At the roadshow, which ends on Wednesday, Mr Gan toured the booths, which contained information about the DRA tool, Screen for Life subsidies and the HealthHub Track app, a free personal health management app by the Health Promotion Board.

He stressed that health is an individual responsibility.

"The Government can do what we can to encourage, to support, to incentivise, but ultimately, each individual must take responsibility for his health."

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