Obesity is a growing epidemic globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, and it has been rising particularly in middle and low-income countries. A National Population Health Survey (NPHS) conducted in Singapore in 2020 showed that obesity (10.5%) had increased among residents aged 18 to 74 years in 2019-2020 from 2018 (8.6%). Moreover, it was also highlighted that the High-Risk BMI in Singapore had increased from 18.7% in 2017, to 20.7% in 2019-2020.

Obese people are more likely to develop chronic conditions like hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases such as heart diseases and stroke, musculoskeletal disorders and cancers. They may also experience breathing difficulties, face higher risk of fracture, sleeping disorder, insulin resistance and psychological issues. In addition, their confidence levels, socioeconomic and psychological status may be negatively impacted.

Lifestyle and genetic factors play a part in obesity too. Most adult obesity are correlated with childhood obesity. Sedentary lifestyles such as excessive eating and the lack of exercise may also contribute to obesity.

However, obesity is preventable. Read on to learn a few tips and tricks on how to manage this common condition.

Conquer The Scale, Conquer It All! 

The most common reason for obesity is the imbalance of calorie intake and output. In order to maintain a healthy weight, it is important to know your BMI, your recommended daily calorie requirement and the calories guide. 

 1. BMI Calculator

Did you know that Body Mass Index (BMI) is a useful tool to assess the weight categories that may lead to obesity-related health problems? There are multiple ways to measure our body fatness and BMI is the simplest and most inexpensive tool that is commonly used in healthcare settings. BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms (or pounds) by the square of their height in meters (or feet). By knowing your weight and height, we can tell if one is underweight (BMI below 18.5), of healthy weight (BMI 18.5 - 24.9), overweight (BMI 25.0 - 29.9) or obese (BMI > 30). However, it does not ascertain the amount of body fat or the health condition of a person. If your BMI is categorised as overweight or obese, consult a doctor to check for health risks (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). This will also be a good time to start paying attention to your calorie intake and output! (Source: HealthHub)

One may also calculate their BMI via the Health Buddy mobile app, a one-stop app to access health information and services. Other available resources include health tips and weight management, as well as an exercise diary tracker that allows you to track the progress of your health activities. 

 2. Calorie Calculator

A calorie is a measurement for energy when your body breaks down food, but it does not mean the more you eat, the more energy you would have. When there are excessive calories in your body, they are stored as body fat, even if you consume fat-free food (Source: Cleveland Clinic, 2019). If you are unsure of the appropriate amount of calories you should take a day, there is a useful Calorie Calculator available on the HealthHub website, which advises the recommended calorie intake per day according to your weight, gender, age, daily activity level, and physical activity level. Let's try it now!

Image retrieved from HealthHub

 3. Calorie Guide - Healthy 365 Meal Log Tool

If you are unsure how many calories are contained in the food you eat, don't worry! The Healthy 365 App can help you with this! When you log in to Healthy 365, tap on the "Calories" icon located in "My Daily Progress". There are 6 designated time bands in which you can log your meals, including the Early Morning (12am-5am), Morning (5am-11am), Midday (11am-2pm), Afternoon (2pm-5pm), Evening (5pm-9pm), and Night (9pm-12am). To upload your meals, you can either search by keywords, take a photo or upload a photo. For example, if you ate two pieces of chicken pau for your breakfast at 6am, select Morning, type "chicken pau'' under the search bar, select the most applicable items, and change the quantity to 2. The system will automatically calculate the total calorie intake for you, and save your inputs for up to one month. Start keeping track of your calories starting today!

Image retrieved from Healthy 365

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