Saturday, July 21, 2012

Singapore - NUS to assess health status of 3,000 citizens

SINGAPORE – The National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health will conduct a study to assess the health status and health-related lifestyle habits of Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 18 to 79 years.  Starting this end of July, the “Singapore Health 2012″ survey aims to reach more than 3,000 participants.

It will gather data on participants’ health, lifestyle, diet, exercise, as well as their use of tobacco, alcohol and medicines. It will also cover sleep quality, sun exposure, weight history and cognition.

This is the first time that the school is conducting such a survey and it hopes to do so on an annual basis.

The survey, which is supported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) supplements MOH’s six-yearly National Health Survey (NHS) and will provide estimates of health status and health-related lifestyles during years when the NHS is not being conducted.

This will allow the ministry and researchers at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health to monitor health trends more closely and get up-to-date information about Singaporeans’ health.

Such close monitoring will be useful in tracking and understanding the changes in important health conditions and health behaviours.

Those who have been invited to take part in the survey will undergo interviews about their health and lifestyle habits, and health services utilisation.

They will then attend free health screenings, after which part of the test results will be sent to them by post. Consenting participants will also have their blood, DNA and urine samples drawn and stored for research purposes.

The school says closer monitoring of health trends will allow researchers to understand how quickly health problems like obesity and smoking are growing in Singapore and identify population segments in which the problem is greatest.

Such information will be useful in the development and implementation of health promotion programmes to help Singaporeans live active, healthy lives.

Assistant Professor Dr Lim Wei-Yen said: “We hope that this survey will help us take the pulse of health in Singapore as our society rapidly evolves.

“The results will enable us to observe how well Singaporeans are progressing in efforts to improve their health and allow more timely responses to changing patterns of health and disease in the community.”

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