By 2050, Singapore may have as many as one million diabetics. Every one in two people, by age 70, will be diabetic – up from one in three today. Of the adult population, 15 per cent will suffer from the disease, compared with 11.3 per cent now.
And because people here are not just getting older, but also fatter, obesity is likely to push up the risks of diabetes, which in turn raises the risk of stroke, heart and kidney failure, and blindness.
Ageing and obesity are the two main factors that will drive Singapore’s number of diabetics up in the next 40 years, according to new research by the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
Sounding the warning on Monday at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel, its dean Chia Kee Seng said such academic knowledge has to be translated into action. “We can now project the impact of proposed obesity reduction programmes on the prevalence of diabetes in Singapore in 2050,” he told more than 400 international participants at the opening of the inaugural Singapore International Public Health Conference.