Beat Diabetes Step By Step

Learn more about diabetes and ways to fight this chronic condition.

BEAT diabetes

1 in 3 Singapore Residents are at a lifetime risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Just 2 minutes of your time could potentially save your life.

Take the Diabetes Risk Assessment (DRA) to find out if you are at risk now!

Take the DRA

  • Be Aware
  • What is Diabetes?

    Diabetes is a long-term medical condition in which the blood glucose levels of a person remain higher than normal all the time. It occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when insulin does not work properly. Insulin is a hormone that reduces the blood glucose levels.

    There are different types of diabetes:

    Type 2 Diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes is usually found in people aged 40 and above who are overweight and physically inactive. In some people, the condition is mild and they are able to control their blood glucose with just diet and exercise. However, if the condition gets worse, they may require oral medication or insulin injections in addition to making lifestyle changes. For those who are overweight or obese, losing weight can be significantly beneficial, even if it is a small amount.

    Type 1 Diabetes

    Usually diagnosed in children or young adults although it can occur at any age, type 1 diabetes results when the pancreas no longer produces insulin. Hence, persons with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections daily.

    Gestational Diabetes

    Due to the hormonal changes in pregnancy, some women may show high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. These women require specialised obstetric care to prevent complications to the unborn child. In gestational diabetes, the blood glucose levels often return to normal after delivery. However, these women may be at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.


    Pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. Studies show that if pre-diabetic persons lose weight and maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), adopt a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity, they can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes


  • Eat Right
  • Nutrition

    Whatever your age and condition, eating well has its benefits. A healthy diet and lifestyle can increase your mental sharpness, energy levels, and resistance to illness and disease.

    Healthy eating doesn’t have to be about bland and boring food. Eating well should be about a well-rounded diet that follows the principles of a healthy diet. It should be balanced, made up of fresh and tasty food, and above all, enjoyed — whether in the company of family or friends.

    A helpful guideline is My Healthy Plate, a friendly visual tool to help you create healthy and balanced meals. On your healthy plate:

    Fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables

    Naturally low in fat and rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruit and vegetables add colour, texture, and flavour to your diet. With so many fruit and vegetables in the market, mix and match your choices to get maximum benefit. Remember not to overcook vegetables, and go for whole fruit rather than fruit juices.

    half with fruit and vegetables

    Fill a quarter of your plate with whole-grains

    quarter with whole-grains

    Wholegrain foods such as brown rice, wholemeal bread, and rolled oats contain nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and inulin. Not only do they protect you from heart diseases and diabetes, they also help manage your weight as they fill you up and you get hungry less easily. On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and white bread have gone through processing, which removes the valuable nutrients. They also cause a greater increase in your blood glucose levels after a meal.

    Choose water

    Replacing sweetened drinks with water, and drinking a glass of water before a meal helps you feel fuller and stay slimmer. Drinking water improves blood circulation and prevents muscle cramps so you can engage in regular physical activity and stay healthy. In Singapore’s hot and humid climate, it is important to keep yourself well-hydrated.

    choose water

    Limit alcohol intake

    limit alcohol intake

    Aim for no more than two drinks per day if you are female, and three drinks per day if you are male. A standard drink is one can (330 ml) of beer, one glass (100 ml) of wine, or one nip (30 ml) of spirits. Beer, wine, and hard liquor contain alcohol –a high source of calories. Regular binge drinking adds inches to your belly and increases your risk of diabetes and heart diseases.

    Use healthier oils

    Choose unsaturated fats and oils that are healthier, and reduce intake of saturated and trans fats. A diet high in fat can contain calories, thus increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.

    use healthier oil

    Learning about food groups

    If you have diabetes, it is important that you understand how different foods affect your blood glucose levels. Foods are classified into four food groups and they are:

    carbohydrates Carbohydrates
    (starches and sugars)
    fruits and vegetables Fruits and vegetables
    meat and others Meat and others
    (fish, tofu, chicken, beans and nuts, milk and dairy products)
    fats and oils Fats and oils

    To keep your blood glucose levels within a steady healthy range, choose meals and snacks from each food group every day. The amount of food you consume is just as important as the type of food so learn to control your portion sizes.

  • Adopt an Active Lifestyle
  • Physical Activity

    Want to know what you stand to gain if you stay active? The benefits of being physically active are plenty:

    manage weight Helps manage your weight
    keeps you healthy Keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy
    feel good Makes you feel good
    keep disease away Keeps diseases away

    Before you start planning an exercise routine, take some time to learn more about the variety of physical activities and the benefits they can provide for your body. You will then be able to combine physical activities and get the most out of your exercise routine.

    Choose activities that you enjoy and love doing to fit your lifestyle.

    Engage in physical activity

    To gain health benefits, it is recommended that a healthy person engage in either:

    150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week, OR

    20 minutes activity of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity three or more days a week

    engaging in physical activity

    The good news is you can:

    COMBINE MODERATE AND VIGOROUS-INTENSITY aerobic activity a week for more variety

    DO THE AEROBIC ACTIVITY IN SEGMENTS of at least 10 minutes and not have to complete 20 or 30 minutes at one go

    Besides aerobic activity, you should also engage in activities that strengthen your muscles two or more days a week. Start with lighter weights or fewer repetitions, and slowly increase the weight over time. A repetition refers to a complete movement of an activity, or the number of times you perform an exercise movement; e.g. 10 sit-ups = 10 repetitions, 15 squats = 15 repetitions. Choose activities that work on different large muscle groups.

    Aerobic activity makes you breathe harder and your heart beat faster Increases heart and lung fitness

    Controls weight
    Brisk walking, dancing, cycling, jogging, swimming, and playing badminton
    Muscle-strengthening activity works on the major muscle groups – the legs, back, chest, belly, shoulders, and arms Increases bone strength and muscular fitness

    Controls weight

    Improves balance
    Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and squats, working with resistance band and weight training

    Exercise at the correct level of intensity

    Intensity refers to how hard your body is working during aerobic activity.

    Moderate-intensity aerobic activity You are still able to talk but not sing or whistle, and are perspiring Brisk walking (5 km/hr) brisk walking
    Leisure cycling (<16 km/hr) leisure cycling
    Leisure swimming leisure swimming
    Playing badminton (doubles) badminton doubles
    Line dancing line dancing
    Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity You find yourself breathing hard and fast, and find it hard to hold a conversation with someone Jogging or running running
    Swimming continuous laps swimming
    Playing badminton (singles) badminton
    Cycling at a fast pace cycling fast
    Playing football or basketball football

    FOR YOUR SAFETY: If you have a medical condition, are very overweight or obese and/or have not been exercising for a long time, see your doctor before you start an exercise programme.

  • Take Control
  • Self-Care



    Contributed By: Health Promotion Board (HPB)
    • Home
    • Resources
    • Articles