Many think of obesity as merely a cosmetic concern, where excess fat is present in a person’s body due to a combination of overeating, physical inactivity and genetics. However, obesity goes beyond that and has become one of the most prominent health problems in numerous countries around the globe in recent years.
Over the last forty years, obesity rates have amounted to astronomical figures. In fact, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
While it has been proven that obesity is far more widespread in regions across North America, Europe, and Oceania, Singapore is not exempt from this rampant public health problem.
Obesity in Singapore
As this health crisis continues to grow on a global scale, it is also becoming more prevalent right here on our shores each year.
Based on the National Population Health Survey 2016/2017, findings have revealed that the rates of obese individuals in Singapore have steadily increased from 32.5% to 40.1% from 2004 to 2010. To paint a clearer picture in your mind, one in nine Singaporeans between the ages of 18 and 69 years were considered to be obese based on their body mass index (BMI).
Among other common diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, obesity still ranked the highest in the survey. Studies have suggested that these figures are only expected to increase in the years to come.
Many continue to undermine the detrimental effects of obesity in the long run but it is high time that we pay closer attention to this and deal with it from the source.
Common Causes of Obesity
Before learning how to tackle obesity and keep it at bay, we first need to know the various causes.
Poor Diet & Overeating
Poor eating habits are probably the leading cause of obesity among all others. More often than not, people are likely to gain weight when they consume more calories than they burn through physical activity.
Examples of unhealthy eating choices that directly lead to weight gain include:
- Eating more portions than your body needs
- Eating excessive amounts of processed or fast food
- Consuming beverages with too much sugar content
- Drinking too much alcohol
Another important factor is the lack of physical exercise. Many Singaporeans work desk jobs that consist of sitting and staring at a computer for long hours every day. When it comes to leisure activities, many of us prefer to lounge around and binge-watch or scroll endlessly on our phones instead of heading out to exercise.
If you fail to incorporate exercise into your daily lives, the energy provided by the food you eat will only be stored by the body to become fat, which can lead to excessive weight gain.
While some still continue to debate whether genetics plays any role in obesity, we have the science to back up this claim. Since 2006, more than 50 genes were found to be associated with obesity.
If you have been overweight for most of your life, or have at least one parent or blood relative that is severely overweight or cannot seem to lose weight despite physical activity, you are more likely to develop obesity through genetics.
Other medical problems such as arthritis can hinder one from engaging in physical activity, which can ultimately result in weight gain as well.
While there are multiple factors that can lead to obesity, the good news is that it can often be prevented.
The Importance of Weight Management
Maintaining a healthy weight is not only important for improving your physical appearance but is also beneficial for your overall well-being. When not taken seriously, obesity can lead to serious complications and medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and even heart disease and cancers.
Prioritising weight management not only lowers the risk of contracting these diseases but can also lead to an improved quality of life.
Lifestyle Modifications to Lose Weight the Healthy Way
Getting rid of excess weight does not necessarily mean you have to go under the knife. More often than not, weight loss can be achieved through simple lifestyle changes and behaviour modifications.
Adopt a Healthier Diet
This may be the most difficult step for most people. Many of us think that losing weight comes at the expense of giving up our favourite, tasty foods. But who said nutritious food can’t be delicious at the same time?
While you certainly will have to cut down on your sugar, salt, and fat intake, you can easily complement those with healthier alternatives like herbs, fruit, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Opt for foods rich in nutrients instead of processed ones, and try not to exceed the recommended calorie intake daily.
Engaging in physical activity is one of the simplest ways to get rid of excess weight on your body. The more you exercise, the more calories your body burns off. On top of burning fat, exercising also increases your metabolism significantly.
But before heading straight to the gym for an intense workout, it is essential to set realistic goals first. Know your body’s limitations and avoid hurting yourself by pushing too hard. If you have existing health conditions such as arthritis that may make exercising difficult, consider working together with a physiotherapist to develop a suitable exercise plan.
Start slow and adjust your exercise routine along the way. Remember, consistency is key!
Have a Positive Outlook
Making lifestyle modifications to lose weight goes beyond the physical aspects; this requires you to tap into your mental stamina as well. Believe it or not, your outlook or mindset can play an essential role in your weight loss journey.
When you set your mind on a particular goal and have a more positive outlook on weight loss, you are more likely to make progress with each positive action you take and nothing can hold you back!
What are Weight Management Programmes?
Weight management programmes cater to individuals who want to make a positive change in both their weight loss journey and overall lifestyle. Typically, these consist of a variety of activities such as exercise and physical activity, nutrition counselling, as well as behaviour therapy.
While these are standard activities in each programme, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In most initiatives, participants will first be assessed based on their personal goals and physical condition, where a customised programme will then be created to cater to their needs.
In comparison to vigorous weight loss programmes that solely focus on losing weight quickly, weight management initiatives are conducted in a more sustainable manner and target both a person’s weight and lifestyle.
Realising the impact that this can have on citizens, the Singapore government has taken matters into its own hands. For many years now, they have been actively promoting a healthier lifestyle among Singaporeans through various weight management programmes available.
Weight Management Programmes in Singapore
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH)
KTPH provides a comprehensive 24-week Weight Management Programme designed to help participants in their weight loss journey by making safe and effective changes to their daily lives. The programme is essentially composed of five different phases: an initial medical assessment, allied health assessment, active weight loss consultations and workshops, allied health reassessment, and maintenance.
Once every two months, participants will be reviewed on their overall progress and assessed on which areas they can improve to enjoy the benefits of the programme fully.
- Website: https://www.ktph.com.sg/
- Location: 90 Yishun Central, Clinic C59 Tower C, Level 5
- Telephone: 6555 8828
Singapore General Hospital (SGH)
The SGH Obesity and Metabolic Unit offer personalised weight loss programmes to help their individuals reach their desired weight loss goals. As one of the leading medical facilities catering to those with lifestyle-related conditions, their weight management programmes are the biggest inpatient volume in the country.
Furthermore, this unit has an extensive and promising team of medical professionals from dietitians, physiotherapists, and speciality nurses who can formulate a helpful weight loss plan for you.
- Website: http://www.sgh.com.sg
- Location: Outram Road, Bowyer Block, Block A Level 1
- Telephone: 6222 3322
Changi Sports Medicine Centre @ Changi General Hospital (CGH)
Unlike most weight management initiatives that generally focus on one’s weight loss, the Weight Management Programme at CGH is slightly more niche. This closely-supervised programme leans towards the sports side of things, consisting of consultations with a sports and exercise medicine physician, dietician, and exercise physiologist.
If you have the time to spare and are willing to commit to this multidisciplinary programme, individuals will be required to exercise five to seven days a week for up to an hour.
- Website: https://www.csmc.sg/services/WM_weight_management_program_faq.html
- Location: Singapore Sport and Exercise Medicine Centre @ CGH ([email protected]) 2 Simei Street 3
- Telephone: 6850 3333
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Eat smart, move more, love life — that is the mission KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) wants to achieve through their very own weight management programme for women. Through evidence-based techniques and practices, participants will be empowered with the necessary skills and knowledge to lead a healthier lifestyle outside of the hospital doors.
Their team of dedicated medical professionals include everything from dieticians, physiotherapists, to psychologists, to ensure a seamless holistic experience for every individual.
- Website: https://www.kkh.com.sg/
- Location: 100 Bukit Timah Road
- Telephone: 6294 4050
National University Hospital (NUH)
NUH’s Centre for Obesity Management and Surgery (COMS) addresses the key areas and causes of obesity using a multidisciplinary approach that ensures sustainable weight loss moving forward.
The programme tackles four different areas: diet, behaviour modification, physical activity, and obesity surgery. Based on the initial assessments and consultations, they will then determine which areas of the programme are most suitable for the individual, or perhaps even a combination of methods.
- Website: https://www.nuh.com.sg/Health-Information/Diseases-Conditions/Pages/Obesity
- Location: 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road
- Telephone: 6772 2002
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH)
NTFGH’s 16-week weight management programme consists of exercise sessions with a conditioning coach and physiotherapist, as well as individual sessions with a dietician, occupational therapist, and weight management doctor.
This programme prioritises moderate weight loss and promotes consistency, over quick results brought by intense physical activity and drastic lifestyle changes.
- Website: https://www.ntfgh.com.sg/Our-Services/MDC-Services/Pages/Weight-Management-MDC
- Location: 6716 2222
- Telephone: 1 Jurong East Street 21
Embark on Your Weight Loss Journey Today
Regardless of your age, one should never undermine the consequences that obesity can have on your body in due course. It is just as they say: prevention is always better than cure.
Get started on your weight loss journey at a weight management clinic in Singapore, or inquire about any of the weight management programmes above. Always remember that there are plenty of resources and avenues for you to tap into to kickstart your weight loss diet plan and exercise routine today.
What are you waiting for? A healthier lifestyle awaits!
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