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SPHS research publication highlights
The following are some research findings from SPHS that have importance in health promotion, developing medical treatment guidelines or health policy making.
A summary of the research published to date suggests that high caffeine intake (approximately about 4 or more cups of coffee) during pregnancy is linked to higher risk of pregnancy loss.
Publication: Chen LW, et al. Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of pregnancy loss: a categorical and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Public Health Nutr. 2016
Consuming palm oil increases LDL cholesterol levels (a risk factor for coronary artery disease) as compared to consuming other vegetable oils lower in saturated fat. Consuming palm oil increases HDL cholesterol levels as compared to consuming trans fat-containing oils. Recommendation: reduce palm oil intake by replacing with vegetable oils that are lower in saturated and trans fat.
Publication: Sun Y et al. Palm Oil Consumption Increases LDL Cholesterol Compared with Vegetable Oils Low in Saturated Fat in a Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. 2015 Jul.
In the news: 12 January 2017, Straits Times. The Oily Truth.
242 out of 2329 participants of the SPHS Singapore Health 2012 was selected for a detail sleep study where a device was strapped to the body to monitor their sleep quality overnight. From this study, one in three Singaporean adults was estimated to have moderate to severe sleep apnea. The proportion with this disorder is higher in the Chinese and Malays than Indians.
Publication: Tan A et al. Prevalence of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in a Multiethnic Asian Population in Singapore: a Community-Based Study. Respirology. 2016 Feb 29
In the news: 17 March 2017, Straits Times. 1 in 3 Singaporeans suffer from Sleep Apnea: Study.
Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour
TV viewing time was linked with higher body fat composition and subclinical atherosclerosis (a risk factor for cardiovascular disease) in men. The longer the TV viewing time, the higher the body fat composition and likelihood of subclinical atherosclerosis. This relationship was not conclusive in the women participants. Furthermore, long sitting activities such as playing computer games and working at the desk were not found to be linked to the same risks in men.
Publication: Nang EEK et al. Association of Television Viewing Time with Body Composition and Calcified Subclinical Atherosclerosis in Singapore Chinese. PLoS ONE. July 2015.
Publication: Nang EEK et al. Television screen time, but not computer use and reading time, is associated with cardio-metabolic biomarkers in a multiethnic Asian population: a cross-sectional study.
In the news: 03 November, Straits Times. Couch Potatoes, beware health risk
Health Screening Participation Factors
Singaporeans who are less likely to go for health screening are likely to be Malays, those who have unhealthy lifestyles, are of a lower educational level, or has poorer family cohesion.
Publication: Venkataraman K et al. Determinants of individuals’ participation in integrated chronic disease screening in Singapore. J Epidemiol Community Health 2016
Ethnic Differences in Health
Amongst the ethnic groups, Indians were most insulin resistant, while Chinese were the least insulin resistant. The higher BMI in Malays as compared to the Chinese contributed to the higher insulin resistance in Malays. In contrast, the high insulin resistance in Indians was attributed to higher abdominal fat distribution.
Publication: Gao H et al. Can body fat distribution, adiponectin levels and inflammation explain differences in insulin resistance between ethnic Chinese, Malays and Asian Indians? Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Aug.
A community health study in Bukit Panjang and Queenstown identified 42% of adults 65 years and older with frailty indications. We identified lifestyle and physical health factors associated with their frail state and are using the information to design programmes to mitigate the risks associated with frailty.
Publication: Merchant R et al. Singapore Healthy Older People Everyday (HOPE) Study: Prevalence of Frailty and Associated Factors in Older Adults. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2017 Jun 13
The Singapore Genome Variation Project studied the genome of 364 SPHS participants consisting of equal numbers of Singaporean Chinese, Malays and Indians and mapped the predominant genetic ancestries of these populations. The Singaporean Chinese were traced to southern Han Chinese, the Singaporean Malays to a cosmopolitan admixture of Malays from Indonesia and Malaysia, and the Singaporean Indians to the Tamil Indians from south India.
Publication: Teo, Y.Y. et al. Singapore Genome Variation Project: a haplotype map of three Southeast Asian populations. Genome Res (2009).
Infectious Disease Outbreak Research
In the Influenza A (H1N1) investigation that spanned the outbreak in Singapore from 2009 to 2010, it was found that travelling overseas and the use of local public transport were linked with increased risk for infection. The researchers also found that only 13% of the population have natural immunity to the virus. The majority of the local population remains vulnerable to the virus.
Publication: Lim WY et al. Risk factors for pandemic (H1N1) 2009 seroconversion among adults, Singapore, 2009. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011 Aug.
Publication: Chen MI et al. 2009 influenza A(H1N1) seroconversion rates and risk factors among distinct adult cohorts in Singapore. JAMA. 2010 Apr 14
In the news: 15 April 2010, Straits Times. Most Adults here still Vulnerable to H1N1.
Economic Burden of Disease in Singapore
The total economic costs of diabetes for the entire working population in Singapore will increase by 2.4 fold, from US$787 million in 2010 to US$1,867 million in 2050. The cost to Singapore per diabetic person was S$7,678 in 2010. By 2050, this would go up to S$10,596 per diabetic person.
Publication: Png ME et al. Current and future economic burden of diabetes among working-age adults in Asia: conservative estimates for Singapore from 2010-2050. BMC Public Health. 2016 Feb
In the news: 13 April 2016, Straits Times. Study: Cost of diabetes to S’pore to soar beyond $2.5b.
Last updated on 20 February 2018