Over 20,000 Bruneians unaware they have diabetes

National 1 minute, 50 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

FORTY-FOUR per cent of diabetic cases in Brunei are undiagnosed, according to research conducted by the health ministry.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said this meant that more than 20,000 people in Brunei are unknowingly living with diabetes.

The MoH said 12.4 per cent of adults have diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and amputations among Bruneian adults.

People with diabetes are also two to four times more likely to experience heart attacks and strokes, the ministry said.

In its statement, the MoH said almost 90 per cent of people living with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, which is defined as having a body mass index or BMI of 30 or greater.

In Brunei, six in 10 adults are overweight and obese, making the country the “fattest” in ASEAN.

However, obesity is no longer a condition that just affects older people in Brunei as the number of younger people being diagnosed with obesity has been increasing, the MoH said.

“Among our children, 33 per cent are overweight and 18 per cent are obese.

“Without a change in our behaviour, the number of obese adults in the country is forecast to soar. This will prove devastating for the country and pose a real barrier towards our national development,” the ministry said.

To prevent diabetes, the MoH said the most important measure one can take is to have a healthy diet and to exercise regularly in the form of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking, cycling and swimming every day.

The ministry also urged those who are overweight and at risk of diabetes to get tested by a doctor.

“Visit a GP at a health centre and discuss your concerns. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is not too late,” it said.

The health ministry said the disease can be controlled with weight loss through healthy eating, regular exercise and medication if needed, but the latter shouldn’t be viewed as a licence to continue following an unhealthy diet.

Meanwhile, those with diabetes should visit a health professional regularly for checks on their blood sugar and should be careful about what they eat while attempting to lose weight.

The Brunei Times