- Findings point to divergence between what Singaporeans think of their own health and their lifestyles
- Lack of motivation and time a key barrier to leading healthier lives
- Prudential offers first-in-market DNA-based health and nutrition programme to encourage healthier living
Singapore, 24 August 2017 – More than 70 per cent of Singaporeans think they are healthy but a large number of them are not eating enough greens and fruits nor getting enough exercise1, according to Prudential Singapore’s Health Literacy Poll2. A major reason for this appears to be their generally poor knowledge about health matters. The survey, conducted this month, aims to find out what Singaporeans think about their state of health and whether their actual lifestyle choices mirror their own perceptions.
What it means to eat healthily varies from person to person. While 60 per cent of the people surveyed perceive their diets to be generally healthy, close to half of the total respondents eat less than two servings of vegetables a day, the recommended portion by Singapore’s Health Promotion Board3. Of the 501 respondents, about three in five also consume less than the prescribed two servings of fruits a day and almost two-thirds opt for less sugar4 only ‘sometimes’, ‘seldom’ or ‘never at all’. When it comes to exercise, about four in five of those surveyed do less than the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week5 and an even higher proportion – 85 per cent – do less than the recommended 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week6.
One of the reasons for less than ideal diet and fitness choices could be the low level of awareness among Singaporeans about what constitutes healthy living. In fact, the data shows a lack of understanding about basic guidelines on nutrition and exercise. More than 90 per cent surveyed do not know the optimum levels of daily exercise; nearly 70 per cent do not know the recommended daily intake for vegetables and fruits; and 60 per cent are not able to cite the recommended daily calorie intake.
On the bright side, it is encouraging to note that Singaporeans’ actual drinking habits are far more positive. Of all respondents, only two per cent of males and three per cent of females drink past the alcohol limit, while just one per cent consumes more than the recommended limit of four to five cups of coffee/tea a day. This is in spite of the fact that the majority of Singaporeans are ignorant about the recommended level of alcohol (95 per cent) and coffee/tea consumption (97 per cent).
Ms Angela Hunter, Chief Customer Officer at Prudential Singapore said creating greater awareness about heathy habits is the first step towards nurturing a healthy nation. “Prudential has always been a strong advocate for healthy living. We hope our survey spurs Singaporeans to learn more about their state of wellness, the impact of the lifestyle choices they make, and move towards healthier living. After all, research from the World Health Organisation has shown that 80 per cent of coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease can be avoided by improvements in lifestyle choices, such as healthier food consumption,” said Ms Hunter.
What keeps Singaporeans from maintaining a healthy diet and fitness regime?
Besides the knowledge gap, the survey also reveals the barriers that keep people from maintaining a healthy diet and fitness regime. The lack of self-motivation (55 per cent) and time (48 per cent) were the top two reasons cited. Not surprisingly, having more personal free time (46 per cent) ranks as the top motivator that would push Singaporeans to commit to healthier choices, followed by having a more enjoyable experience of exercising and eating healthily (43 per cent), and receiving monetary incentives and financial aid (42 per cent). The prevention of negative outcomes such as illness or obesity (43 per cent) will also drive them to make better choices.
myDNA – Singapore’s first DNA-based fitness and nutrition programme
To help Singaporeans along the path to better health, Prudential partnered Prenetics, one of Asia’s leading genetics testing companies, to launch a groundbreaking health innovation known as myDNA. Launched exclusively to Prudential’s employees and customers, myDNA is Singapore’s first DNA-based7 fitness and diet programme which aims to promote better lifestyle habits through greater health awareness.
The myDNA programme involves the use of a simple saliva test to provide personalised insights through a 40+ page report. The report reveals how an individual’s genes may affect his or her nutrition needs (vitamins and minerals), dietary sensitivities and fitness. For instance, individuals can find out whether they may be more sensitive to carbohydrates, fats and alcohol, as well as which exercises may be best for them.
myDNA also offers a comprehensive suite of resources to help individuals achieve their fitness goals. This includes a mobile application that helps users set fitness goals, track progress, log food photos and get a calorie count; a chat-on-demand with nutrition experts for diet advice; a one-time phone consultation with a professional dietician; and a series of wellness events organised by Prudential.
Danny Yeung, Chief Executive Officer of Prenetics, said, “myDNA is an innovative tool to make health a choice. By increasing awareness of the way our genes and lifestyle factors work together to shape our health, we hope to help individuals achieve better long-term health outcomes by proactively making healthier choices.”
myDNA is independently administered by Prenetics and Prudential does not have access to individual customer data. It is a non-diagnostic test and cannot be used to predict if one has or will develop certain health conditions.
For more information on myDNA, log onto https://www.prudential.com.sg/en/prumydna/.
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ABOUT Prudential Assurance Company Singapore (Pte) Limited (Prudential Singapore)
Prudential Singapore, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Prudential plc, is one of the top life insurance companies in Singapore. We have been serving the financial and protection needs of Singaporeans for 86 years. Our focus is to bring well rounded financial solutions to customers through our multi-channel distribution network, with product offerings in Protection, Savings and Investment. We are one of the market leaders in Protection, Savings and Investment-linked plans with S$29.4 billion funds under management as at 30 June 2016. In 2014, we were awarded an AA Financial Strength Rating by leading credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s.
For the last 11 consecutive years, we have been awarded the Gold Award in Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands. Since 2007, we have been conferred the People Developer Award by SPRING Singapore for our efforts in training and developing employees and in 2013 and 2014, we were presented with Asia’s Employer of the Year Brand Award by the Branding Institute and the World HRD Congress. Prudential Singapore was also awarded the NTUC Plaque of Commendation (Gold) Award in 2014, and the Singapore Human Resource Institute presented the company with the Leading HR Practices in Quality Work-Life, Physical & Mental Well-Being Award in 2014 and the Leading HR Practices in Lifelong Learning Award in 2015.
Prenetics is the leading genetic testing / digital health company in Southeast Asia. Prenetics empowers individuals with valuable health information. With a simple saliva sample, individuals can discover how their genes affects their diet, drug response, disease and cancer risk. This information enables people to make health a choice, by living healthier and proactively preventing diseases. Learn more at www.prenetics.com
1 Based on guidelines provided by the Health Promotion Board.
2 The study was conducted among 501 Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents aged 20-59 years old. They completed a 10-minute online survey between 2 August 2017 to 8 August 2017.
3 Health Promotion Board: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/56/fruits-and-veggies
4 Health Promotion Board: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/15/dietary_guidelines_adults
5 Health Promotion Board: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/386/150minutes
6 Health Promotion Board: https://www.hpb.gov.sg/article/health-promotion-board-launches-national-physical-activity-guidelines
7 myDNA is a saliva-based DNA test. Its genotyping has a 99.9% accuracy validated by the CORE Facilities-Genome Sequencing Laboratory (CFGSL) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prenetics, the provider of myDNA, processes all myDNA test samples in their own proprietary laboratory based in Hong Kong that is internationally accredited under ISO-15189:2012. All DNA categories tested in myDNA are supported by a rigorous volume of research conducted by leading science and research institutes around the world.