Video anchor 28.JUL.2017 7 MIN READ | 7 MIN READ
Health facts of the average Singaporean

As we celebrate our country this National Day, let’s not forget to celebrate the great strides we’ve made in healthcare!

We are the 4th healthiest country in the world

This is according to the Bloomberg Global Health Index, which ranks countries based on variables like life expectancy, causes of death, and health risks. 

We are 3rd in the world for life expectancy

The average Singaporean has a lifespan of 83.1 years, trailing just slightly behind Japan (83.7 years) and Switzerland (83.4 years) which are ranked 1st and 2nd respectively.

We are 2nd in the world for healthy life expectancy

What’s even more encouraging is that Singapore ranked 2nd in terms of healthy life expectancy – the number of years in which people live in full health. At 73.9 years, we fall short of Japan by just 1 year (74.9 years).

We have the 10th lowest death rate due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory disease

The global probability of dying from any of the above diseases is 18.8%, and Singapore is well below that with a probability of 10.1%.

Cancer is the top cause of death in Singapore

Cancer accounts for 29.7% of total deaths in Singapore in 2015. Around 1 in 26 Singaporean men will develop colorectal cancer, and around 1 in 15 Singaporean women will develop breast cancer.

96% of Singaporean children are vaccinated against 11 diseases

By the age of 11, most Singaporeans would have been vaccinated against tuberculosis, hepatitis B, diphtheria (a serious bacterial infection), tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough), polio (a highly infectious disease that can cause paralysis), haemophilus influenza type b, measles, mumps (a viral illness that causes inflammation of the salivary glands), rubella (a highly contagious disease that can cause birth defects) and pneumococcal disease (which can lead to pneumonia and meningitis). According to the law, it is only compulsory to be vaccinated against diphtheria and measles.

We have an extremely low birth rate

Singapore’s total fertility rate has dipped to 1.2 in 2016, far below the 2.1 rate a population requires to replace itself. We join the ranks of countries like Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where birth rates are low.

16.3% of Singaporeans above the age of 15 smoke

Compared to non-smokers, smokers are thrice as likely to have heart attacks, thrice as likely to get stroke, and 25 times as likely to develop lung cancer. Quitting smoking will not just decrease your chances of developing heart disease, it will also reverse the damage done to your heart from smoking.

11% of Singaporeans are obese

Obesity has been increasing steadily over the past years. Singaporeans who are obese are at greater risk of diabetes and heart diseases. In fact, around 60% of Singaporeans with BMI 23 or greater are either already pre-diabetic, or suffering from at least one or more chronic condition.

Singaporeans are increasingly active and eating healthier

From 2001 to 2014, the number of people who exercise frequently (3 or more times in a week) have doubled. The number of Singaporeans who opt for wholegrain foods over refined carbohydrates have also more than tripled, from 8.4% in 2004 to 27% in 2010. While there is still room for improvement, it shows that Singaporeans are taking greater ownership of their health and playing an active role to lead a healthy lifestyle.

A country is only as great as its people, and for its people to be great, we must take ownership of our health. Let us do so by eating and sleeping well, exercising, taking care not to fall sick and going for regular check-ups. Majulah Singapura!


Article reviewed by Dr Othello Dave, medical reviewer at Health Plus

References

World Health Organisation. (n.d.). World health statistics 2017: monitoring health for the SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/255336/1/9789241565486-eng.pdf?ua=1

Principal Causes of Death | Ministry of Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/statistics/Health_Facts_Singapore/Principal_Causes_of_Death.html

http://www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg/learn-about-cancer/cancer-basics/common-types-of-cancer-in-singapore.html

Singapore Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg/learn-about-cancer/cancer-basics/common-types-of-cancer-in-singapore.html

The World Factbook — Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2127rank.html

Smoking - Risk Factors - About The Heart & Heart Disease - Singapore Heart Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.myheart.org.sg/article/about-the-heart-and-heart-disease/risk-factors/smoking/195

Obesity also rising in Singapore, Singapore News & Top Stories - The Straits Times. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/obesity-also-rising-in-singapore

1.7 Million Singaporeans Already At Risk of Obesity-related Diseases. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hpb.gov.sg/article/1.7-million-singaporeans-already-at-risk-of-obesity-related-diseases

Singaporeans now more active, Health News & Top Stories - The Straits Times. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/singaporeans-now-more-active

28.JUL.2017