VIDEO - Singapore’s war on diabetes: Industry, academics and government 'need to line up like hunters'

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Southeast asia East asia

With a staggering one million Singaporeans forecast to have type 2 diabetes by 2050 – that’ll be one-sixth of the population – this month’s Nutrition Asia video assesses what is arguably South East Asia’s biggest health crisis.

The scale of the problem in Singapore has led the government to declare a ‘war on diabetes’ with officials calling on individuals, industry and academics to help fight the problem.

That’s why we spoke with Professor Jeya Henry, the director of Singapore’s Clinical Nutritional Research Centre.

He and his team are at the forefront of academic research into the role of nutrition and diabetes, working to improve products and design new functional foods.

Watch the video to see Prof. Henry discuss why Singapore, and indeed several neighbouring South East Asian countries, is seeing such a surge in diabetes and hear him reveal the latest research he has been involved in.

He passes his judgement on the role being played by food manufacturers in the fight to stem the rise of the disease and explains why it is crucial that a wide body of research is undertaken in Asia, on Asians, and assessing the foods prevalent in the Asian diet.

He also draws attention to the thin-fat phenomenon, which is common in Asia, before highlighting the next research priorities for his department.

Action plan

Our video comes as Singapore health officials are preparing to launch the county’s first Diabetes Action Plan in response to the City State being identified as having the second-highest proportion of diabetics among developed nations.

Today, 400,000 Singaporeans are diabetic, behind only the United States in terms of the proportion of its residents with the lifestyle disease, reported the International Diabetes Foundation​ recently.

The report found that 10.5% of Singaporeans aged 20-79 were estimated to have diabetes, just behind 10.75% of Americans.

The findings acted at a wake-up call that has seen increased government and academic attention devoted to tackling the problem.

Food Vision Asia: Prof. Henry will be one of the keynote speakers at our Food Vision Asia summit to be held in Singapore from April 25-27. Find out how to attend here​.

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