Geneticists said on Wednesday they had pinpointed the most important obesity gene yet, and its functioning may explain why some people are more prone to obesity than others. It is worthwhile remembering that besides genes, obesity is a culmination of multiple other factors including lack of exercise and poor dietary habits. So rather than putting all the blame on your genes, an active lifestyle and good dietary choices still remain the most important interventions in mitigating obesity.
Obesity and related diseases like diabetes have gained epidemic proportions in many developed countries. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), obesity nearly doubled worldwide from 1980 to 2008.
The Health Promotion Board (HPB), Singapore, has launched a first-of-its-kind nationwide challenge to encourage Singaporeans who are overweight and at risk of becoming obese to battle the bulge.
According to the National Health Survey 2010, 1.7 million Singaporeans have a body mass index (BMI) of 23 or above, and they are at risk of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and stroke. HPB says one million Singaporeans with BMI of 23 or more are either already pre-diabetic, or suffer at least one or more chronic condition such as diabetes. The One Million KG Challenge aims to get Singapore residents to collectively lose one million kilogrammes by 2016.
These community initiatives reflect a greater awareness of the need to combat obesity in order to curb the increasing prevalence of diabetes, amongst other lifestyle diseases. While community initiatives like this are highly commendable in their efforts to inspire the general public to lose weight and improve their health, the bigger challenge lies in how to maintain the weight lost and to persist in living a healthy lifestyle after the challenge is over.
A new diabetes prevention website has been launched in an attempt to stop what doctors say is a worsening epidemic in Asia. Studies have shown that Asians are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, when compared with people of European ancestry. Asians are also more likely to develop the disease even at a lower BMI. This means that even though some Asian populations currently have a lower prevalence of overweight and obese individuals than populations in the West, they have a disproportionately high percentage of people with diabetes. Currently, 60% of the world’s diabetic population is Asian.
In Singapore, already 11.3% of adults have diabetes, and the numbers are set to worsen with the aging population and increasing obesity prevalence.