Childhood obesity has been a significant concern in Singapore for the past two decades. In 2010, 12.0% of primary school students and 10.5% of secondary school students were reported to be overweight or severely overweight1. In Asian populations, overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 23 kg/m2 and obesity is defined as a BMI ≥ 27.5 kg/m2. Comparatively, a child is considered overweight if their BMI falls between the 85th and 95th percentile for their age and gender, and obesity if it is at or above the ≥ 95th percentile.
The BMI is calculated using the formula below:BMI = weight (kg) ÷ [height (m)]2
1HPB-MOH Clinical Practice Guidelines 1/2016
Obesity results from a combination of factors, including excessive
calorie intake, inadequate physical activity and genetic influences. In some
children, specific diseases and medications can lead to obesity.
Immediate health concerns linked to obesity include Diabetes Mellitus, high blood pressure, hyperlipidaemia, fatty liver, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), irregular menstrual cycles, joint issues, depression and low self-esteem. In our clinic, healthcare professionals assess these through questioning, physical examinations and blood tests.
Long-term risks include persistent adult obesity and increased likelihood of heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis and various cancers.
Effective weight loss involves a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. Motivating is key to success, with support from family, friends, schools and healthcare professionals being crucial.
Our multidisciplinary weight management team comprises a paediatrician, a dietitian, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a nurse clinician. This team provides comprehensive care, including monitoring and treating obesity-related complications, dietary customisation, motivational support, parenting strategies and exercise guidance.
Continued clinical research is essential for advancing paediatric healthcare. Our doctors are committed to contributing to the future of child health and medicine through both clinical practice and research.