1 in 2 S'porean adults will have Type 2 diabetes by 2050

SINGAPORE - By 2050, one in two adults in Singapore will suffer from Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.

These projected figures were obtained from a pilot project conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH) earlier this year.

The project is based on a simulation model called the Demographic Epidemiological Model of Singapore (Demos).

The model forecasts the impact of diseases which affect the country and how public-health intervention can mitigate it.

About 400,000 Singaporeans, or 11.3 per cent of the population, were diabetic in 2010, said NUS. Type 2, or adult-onset, diabetes is linked to a person's diet and lifestyle.

It occurs when the body becomes more resistant to insulin - a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows the body's cells to use blood glucose for energy - and the cells that store and release insulin start to fail.

Demos takes into account aspects that have been found to have a link to diabetes, such as obesity and genetics.

The launch of Demos was announced yesterday at the inaugural two-day Singapore International Public Health Conference, jointly organised by SSHSPH and the Chapter of Public Health and Occupational Physicians, Academy of Medicine, Singapore.

The conference, held yesterday at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore, was attended by over 400 health-care workers, researchers and academics from 15 countries.

A $15-million research grant for the next five years, called the Communicable Diseases-Public Health Research Grant, was also announced. It will be used to support evidence-based public-health risk assessment and policy formulation, besides other areas.

The Health Sciences Authority and SSHSPH also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the event.

The MOU is aimed at encouraging knowledge exchange and enhancing academic and professional competencies to promote the protection of public health and advancement of public-health science.