Singapore is currently on track for two of the global nutrition targets, but progress towards others remains limited. This study addresses this gap by assessing diet in late adolescents/early adults attending different types of postsecondary educational institutions.
An innovative diet quality scoring method was devised using a single 24-h recall from each weekday during one calendar month, weighting it according to food-based dietary guidelines.
Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents
Dietary guidelines are created to promote diets that meet nutritional requirements and help lower risks associated with noncommunicable chronic diseases. Their aim is to guide food choices by emphasizing nutritious options and giving guidance as to when and how often people should eat them. Singapore’s 2011 Dietary Guidelines offer guidance that includes the diet score which utilizes food-based approaches in evaluating an individual’s eating pattern by allotting points to 10 different components such as rice alternatives, fruit, vegetables, meats & dairy, bread alternatives as well as salt sugar & saturated fat intakes – providing comprehensive measures of overall dietary quality evaluation.
An expert panel was invited to use the Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) tool and process, consisting of 47 indicators designed to gauge whether Singapore government policies create food environments conducive to healthy dietary practices. Results of the Food-EPI workshop will help inform structural recommendations which can assist Singapore government efforts towards improving diet quality.
Dietary Guidelines for Adults
Due to Singapore’s rapidly aging population, poor nutrition among older adults may increase the risk of non-communicable chronic diseases. Therefore, this study sought to investigate dietary carbohydrate quality among free-living middle-aged and older adults living independently, its association with cardiometabolic health outcomes using an instrument designed for this purpose (NCQ) .
This cross-sectional survey explored lifestyle practices such as dietary intakes, physical activity levels and alcohol consumption among participants in Singapore and internationally. Participants were classified according to healthy or unhealthy practices based on Singapore and international recommendations. Exposure to the national health campaign “War on Diabetes” was associated with meeting exercise recommendations but not meeting dietary intake targets, despite previous research showing such campaigns have an effectful impact on healthy eating habits. Nutrition knowledge – which refers to an individual’s abilities and motivations to access and understand nutrition information – influences dietary habits. Furthermore, results of this survey indicate that sociodemographic factors and competencies such as age, sex, full-time working status or schooling status were linked with nutrition knowledge.
Dietary Guidelines for Older Adults
Many older adults in Singapore are at risk of malnutrition. Their nutritional status has been linked with adverse clinical outcomes such as physical frailty, increased mortality rates and longer hospital stays. Nutrition knowledge plays a pivotal role in shaping individual eating habits and diet choices .
Diets that adhere to this set of dietary guidelines will help lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity as well as bone loss and related conditions such as sarcopenia or frailty.
Seniors should focus on eating high-quality, soft foods that are easy to swallow, and choose calcium-fortified or rich foods in order to combat bone mineral loss. They should also drink enough fluids in order to avoid dehydration while adding three servings per day of high-quality proteins like fish, chicken, lean meat and eggs into their daily diets for maximum muscle preservation.
Dietary Guidelines for Pregnant Women
Women seeking a healthy pregnancy diet should aim to consume fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, unprocessed meats and dairy foods in their daily diets. Sweetened beverages or snacks as well as refined grains should be avoided to minimise adverse outcomes during gestation.
Ms Kellie Kong from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s Department of Nutrition & Dietetics suggests some healthier hawker choices for pregnant women to select during their gestation period, though she cautions against batang fish (Spanish mackerel) soup as this could contain higher mercury levels.
A recent Singaporean pregnant women study examining whole grain intake revealed that most expectant mothers fall short of meeting recommendations. This cross-sectional survey was conducted among 1051 pregnant women from two maternity hospitals as part of Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) mother-offspring cohort, using 24-h recall and 3-d food diary assessments; plasma folate and alkylresorcinol levels served as biomarkers to assess diet intake.