War on diabetes has raised awareness, says Amy Khor

Over a year after the Ministry of Health declared a "war on diabetes", public awareness of the disease has increased, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said.

"Increasingly, we can see that a lot more people are aware,'' Dr Khor told The Straits Times yesterday at an event to mark World Diabetes Day tomorrow, adding that more effort was still needed to get the public to take action.

Referring to the online Diabetes Risk Assessment questionnaire, she said the take-up rate was ''pretty good". Since its launch on Sept 1, about 44,000 users aged 18 to 39 have used it. About one-fifth were found to be at higher risk.

Over 400,000 Singaporeans live with diabetes, with one in three having a lifetime risk of developing it. In April last year, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong declared a war on diabetes, saying it was one of the biggest drains on the healthcare system here.

Asked for figures that showed an increase in public awareness of diabetes, the Health Ministry said it has seen "positive changes in food consumption patterns, and increased participation in activities such as the National Steps Challenge".

It cited, as example, the number of healthier meals sold at the more than 1,600 food and beverage partner outlets on board the Healthier Dining Programme, which increased from 7.5 million in 2014 to 26 million as of March this year.

Over two seasons of the National Steps Challenge, half a million participants were reached, with a two-fold increase in sign-ups in Season 2, it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2017, with the headline 'War on diabetes has raised awareness, says Amy Khor'. Subscribe