Did you know that an estimated one million Singaporeans will have diabetes by 2050? That’s more than double the 440,000 Singaporeans with diabetes in 2014!

But, big as these numbers are, they don’t affect our day-to-day lives. So why should we personally care about diabetes?

We should care because diabetes is closely related to lifestyle choices — what we eat, how much we move — and can affect anyone of any age. Depending on our lifestyles, we could easily become part of that one million.

What Can We Do?

The good news is we can reduce risk of diabetes by being aware of the lifestyle risks, then taking control and making changes.

And we’re here to guide you to a healthier lifestyle! Our diabetes prevention journey will help you keep diabetes at bay by providing tools, action plans, and guides that give healthy lifestyle recommendations.

The journey will cover four key areas:

  1. Nutrition — how to eat healthier

  2. Physical activity — how to move more

  3. Mental wellbeing — how to beat stress and eat more mindfully

  4. Smoking cessation — how to quit smoking

But first, a quick explainer on diabetes.

What’s Diabetes, Anyway?

What is diabetes?

Our bodies break down most food we eat into glucose. Normally, a hormone called insulin will act as a key to unlock our body cells so glucose can enter. In these cells, glucose is turned into energy for everything we do, from breathing, to thinking, to walking.

This isn’t the case for people with diabetes, which has two main types:

  • Type 1 diabetes, where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or

  • Type 2 diabetes, where the body cannot use insulin properly.

In people with type 1 diabetes, the lack of insulin (no “keys” to “unlock” the cells) causes higher-than-normal blood glucose levels.

And for those with type 2 diabetes, the cells can’t “unlock” to take in glucose effectively, leading to glucose build-up in the blood, which also causes blood glucose levels to be higher than normal.

Left uncontrolled, continuously high blood glucose levels can lead to serious complications like heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and amputation.

It’s my Life(style)

Risk factors 

So, what’s lifestyle got to do with diabetes? Turns out, some risk factors for type 2 diabetes are directly linked to our lifestyles. These are:

Being Physically Inactive

Aka sitting too much and not moving enough. Office warriors might be at risk: those of us who sit behind desks for nine hours each day, and choose to lepak (laze around) at home after work because we’re either too tired or unmotivated to hit the gym.

Being Overweight or Obese

Obesity is another risk factor that could be caused by lifestyle choices. Perhaps we often eat more than our bodies need, ordering $6 upsized, extra liao (ingredients) hawker food instead of choosing moderate $3 portions.

Or maybe we consume too much sugar and fat, and don’t exercise enough. For instance, we might enjoy frequent suppers, polishing off prata, satay, BBQ wings, and sugar cane drinks, but don’t move enough to burn the extra calories.

Before we know it, we’ll have gained a few extra kilos and some extra “padding” around the waist.


Nicotine in cigarettes causes blood glucose levels to rise, increasing risk of diabetes.


Stress is another risk factor that can affect blood glucose levels.

Luckily, we can take control of our health and prevent diabetes by making lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, moving more, quitting smoking, and managing stress.

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