Two hailed for efforts in fight against diabetes
Multi-agency task force to promote healthy lifestyle
Having lost two grandfathers and her father to diabetes-related complications, Mrs Smitha Venkatesh, 50, was worried she would also get the disease.
Still, it was not until last year that she went for a pre-diabetes test. Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.
Mrs Venkatesh, a consular staff member at the Australian Embassy, said: "I have seen how it happened with my dad.
"He was a high-flying person, but diabetes struck and his whole lifestyle and everything just changed."
To her horror, the test results showed she was almost pre-diabetic.
Mrs Venkatesh set her mind on preventing the disease by embarking on a more vigorous exercise routine and being mindful of what the family eats.
She now cooks all the meals for her husband and their daughter, who is in her 20s.
This lets her monitor and control the fat and carbohydrate intake. The family also avoids refined sugars and processed foods.
Yesterday, Mrs Venkatesh was one of two individuals Health Minister Gan Kim Yong held up as having been positive influences on their family and community in their fight against the disease.
The other person was Mr Juhari Abdul Karim, 42, a project superintendent who has Type 2 diabetes and continues to run marathons to also help raise funds for charity.
Mr Gan, who was speaking at an event organised by Diabetes Singapore to mark World Diabetes Day at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, also announced the setting up of a multi-agency task force to promote healthy lifestyles among Singaporeans.
Chaired by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin, the new task force will conduct public consultation sessions from January to May next year to seek ideas on how to encourage Singaporeans to adopt healthy lifestyles.
It will also coordinate health promotion efforts across various public agencies such as the Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Mr Gan said the task force will focus on three key areas: changing the environment people live in, empowering individuals through technology and engaging communities by delivering better services and programmes.
He noted that the Government's war on diabetes, declared in 2016, has provided a strong foundation to do more to promote health.
Apart from rolling out measures to support diabetics, the authorities have worked to make healthier food and drink options more accessible and continued efforts to encourage active lifestyles among Singaporeans.