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Hand grip strength (HGS) is an important diagnostic tool for sarcopenia and a reliable predictor for age-related chronic diseases and mortality. Interventions in nutrition have been shown as a low-cost strategy to maintain muscular strength and mass. However, there are limited data on the effect of diet on HGS in Southeast Asian populations. This study aims to investigate the association of diet quality with HGS weakness and asymmetry in a multi-ethnic population in Singapore. This cross-sectional study used data from the Singapore Multi-Ethnic Cohort (n=1,547). Dietary data were collected using a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire and summarized as the Dietary Quality Index – International (DQI-I). HGS was calculated as the maximum value of six measurements from both hands. HGS weakness and asymmetry were defined using well-recognized criteria. Multivariable linear regression and logistic regression were utilized for continuous and binary outcomes respectively, adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, physical activity, and smoking status. It was found that the highest quartile of DQI-I was significantly associated with higher HGS (β=1.11; 95%CI: 0.41, 1.82; p-trend<0.001), and lower odds of HGS asymmetry (OR=0.71; 95%CI: 0.53, 0.94; p-trend=0.035) and both HGS weakness and asymmetry (OR=0.50; 95%CI: 0.32, 0.76; p-trend=0.004). Among the different components of DQI-I, only dietary adequacy was significantly associated with higher HGS (p-trend<0.001) and lower odds for both HGS weakness and asymmetry (p-trend=0.006). Our findings support that DQI-I, an indicator of overall diet quality, can be used to provide dietary guidelines for prevention and management of muscle wasting, sarcopenia, and frailty.
To understand young adults’ perceptions of online and real-life social influences on their food and activity choices.
A qualitative study involving 7 focus groups. Thematic analysis using both deductive and inductive techniques were performed.
A polytechnic and a university in Singapore.
A total of 46 full-time students, 19–24 years of age.
Participants revealed that social media meets multiple needs, contributing to its ubiquitous use and facilitating content spread between social networks. Food-related content shared on social media were mostly commercial posts, marketing foods and eateries showcasing price promotions, emphasising sensory properties of foods or creating narratives that activated trends. Subsequently, real-life social activities frequently revolve around marketed foods that were not necessarily healthy. In contrast, physical activity posts were rarely being followed up in real life. Portrayals describing a toxic gym culture could contribute to negative perceptions of peers’ physical activity posts and a disinclination towards sharing such posts. Participants expressed that close, supportive social networks in real life strongly influenced initiating and maintaining healthy lifestyles. However, in a society that highly values academic achievements, participants prioritised studying and socialising over healthy eating and physical activity.
Overall, our findings reveal that virtual and real-life social influences have complex interactions affecting Asian young adults’ behavioural choices and should be considered when designing interventions for this group. Regulations related to the digital marketing of unhealthy food, and improving the availability, accessibility and affordability of healthier food options, particularly in the foodservice sector, would be of value to consider.
When governments and healthcare providers offer people cash rewards for weight loss, an assumption is that cash rewards are versatile, working equally well for everyone – for example, for all genders. No research to date has tested for gender difference in response to financial incentives for weight loss. We show in an randomized controlled trial (RCT) (n = 472) that cash incentives for weight loss only worked for males. The RCT consisted of a 3-month, self-administered online weight loss program. Offering a US$150 incentive for a 5% weight loss more than tripled the proportion of males who were successful, compared with a no-incentive Control arm (20.9% vs. 5.9%). On average, males in the incentive arm lost 2.4% of weight over 3 months, compared with 0.9% in the Control arm. The same incentive had no such effect on females: The average weight loss in the incentive arm was not significantly different than in the Control (1.03% and 1.44%, respectively), nor was the proportion of participants meeting the 5% weight loss goal (8.6% and 8.7%, respectively). This study shows that males respond better than females to financial incentives for weight loss.
Singapore, an urbanised, developed nation, with a high reliance on food importation and a high prevalence of eating out is facing rising rates of obesity and diabetes. The objective of the current study was to characterise and evaluate the Singapore government’s policies to improve the food environment and to identify and prioritise concrete actions.
The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index tool and process were used. An expert panel rated the Singapore government’s implementation of forty-seven indicators compared with international best practice in 2018. Indicators were prioritised, and specific recommendations were proposed by panel.
Twenty experts primarily from academia.
As compared with international benchmarks, the level of implementation of most indicators (thirty-three indicators, 70 %) by the Singapore government was evaluated as being at least moderate. Highly rated indicators included those related to provision of healthier meals at school, supporting the use of healthier ingredients by food vendors and governmental leadership. More policy indicators (6, 26 %) as compared with infrastructure support indicators (2, 8 %) received a ‘very little or no implementation’ rating. After rating, the experts prioritised eleven indicators and proposed thirty-one actions informed by several considerations including those of effectiveness, political acceptability, feasibility and unique characteristics of food retail in Singapore.
Supported by documented evidence, an independent expert panel identified areas of strengths and provided specific recommendations to meaningfully improve the Singapore food environment to facilitate healthier eating. Fundamental recommendations including improving nutrition profiling and strengthening monitoring systems have the potential to positively influence environments across policy domains.
Short screeners for assessing dietary quality are lacking in Asia. We recently developed a short thirty-seven-item diet screener (DS). The present study aimed to evaluate reproducibility and relative validity of the DS in assessing a priori dietary quality indices (DQI; i.e. the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010), alternate Mediterranean Diet (aMed) and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet) and intakes of selected foods.
DS administration and biomarker measurement took place twice within a 4-month interval. A 163-item FFQ was administered one month after the second DS administration.
Singapore, a multi-ethnic urban Asian country.
Singapore residents (n 161) aged 18–79 years, of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicity.
Reproducibility coefficients for the two DS were 0·71 (DQI) and 0·65 (food groups). Correlations (ρ) between mean DS and FFQ DQI scores were 0·51 (AHEI-2010), 0·50 (aMed) and 0·61 (DASH; all P<0·05). Cohen’s weighted kappa indicated moderate agreement between the two measures (κw=0·48–0·58). DS DQI scores were associated with concentrations of β-cryptoxanthin (AHEI-2010, ρ=0·26; P<0·05), odd-chain SFA (aMed, ρ=0·24; DASH, ρ=0·25; both P<0·05), and enterolactone, total carotenoids, PUFA and α-linolenic acid (all scores, ρ=0·17–0·30; all P<0·05). Scores were not associated with isoflavone or long-chain n-3 PUFA concentrations.
A short screener can be used to assess DQI with good reproducibility and relative validity compared with a longer FFQ in an Asian population.
Several previous prospective studies suggest that consumption of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We investigated the association between consumption of different types of vegetables in relation to T2D risk in an Asian Population. We included 45 411 participants (age range: 45–74 years) of the Singapore Chinese Health Study (SCHS) free of diabetes, cancer or CVD at baseline (1993–1998). Dietary information was collected using a validated FFQ. Physician-diagnosed incident diabetes was reported at follow-up I (1999–2004) and II (2006–2010) interviews. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratio (HR) and 95 % CI of T2D risk. An updated meta-analysis was also conducted to summarise results for green leafy and cruciferous vegetables. During 494 741 person-years of follow-up, 5207 incident T2D occurred. After adjustment for potential confounders, neither total vegetables (top v. bottom quintile HR=1·08; 95 % CI 0·98, 1·18, Ptrend=0·66) nor specific vegetables including dark green leafy vegetables (HR=1·05; 95 % CI 0·96, 1·15, Ptrend=0·21) and cruciferous vegetables (HR=0·97; 95 % CI 0·88, 1·06, Ptrend=0·29) were substantially associated with risk of T2D. A meta-analysis (eleven studies with 754 729 participants and 58 297 cases) including the SCHS and all previous prospective studies suggested borderline significant inverse associations between green leafy (summary relative risk (RR)=0·91; 95 % CI 0·84, 1·00) and cruciferous vegetable consumption (RR=0·87; 95 % CI 0·76, 1·00) and T2D risk, with moderate-to-high heterogeneity. In conclusion, green leafy or cruciferous vegetable consumption was not substantially associated with risk of T2D in an Asian population. Meta-analysis of available cohort data indicated that evidence for a beneficial effect of green leafy or cruciferous vegetable consumption on T2D risk is not convincing.
Maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy has been associated with infant birth and postnatal growth outcomes, but reported findings have been inconsistent, especially in relation to postnatal growth and adiposity outcomes. In a mother–offspring cohort in Singapore, maternal plasma vitamin D was measured between 26 and 28 weeks of gestation, and anthropometric measurements were obtained from singleton offspring during the first 2 years of life with 3-month follow-up intervals to examine birth, growth and adiposity outcomes. Associations were analysed using multivariable linear regression. Of a total of 910 mothers, 13·2 % were vitamin D deficient (<50 nmol/l) and 26·5 % were insufficient (50–75 nmol/l). After adjustment for potential confounders and multiple testing, no statistically significant associations were observed between maternal vitamin D status and any of the birth outcomes – small for gestational age (OR 1·00; 95 % CI 0·56, 1·79) and pre-term birth (OR 1·16; 95 % CI 0·64, 2·11) – growth outcomes – weight-for-age z-scores, length-for-age z-scores, circumferences of the head, abdomen and mid-arm at birth or postnatally – and adiposity outcomes – BMI, and skinfold thickness (triceps, biceps and subscapular) at birth or postnatally. Maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy did not influence infant birth outcomes, postnatal growth and adiposity outcomes in this cohort, perhaps due to the low prevalence (1·6 % of the cohort) of severe maternal vitamin D deficiency (defined as of <30·0 nmol/l) in our population.
We evaluated the relationship between urine concentrations of phyto-oestrogens (isoflavones and lignans) and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in middle-aged and elderly Chinese residing in Singapore. Urine metabolites of isoflavones and lignans were assayed by HPLC among 564 diabetes cases and 564 matched controls in a case–control study nested within the Singapore Chinese Health Study cohort. Participants were free of diagnosed diabetes, CVD and cancer at morning urine collections during 1999–2004. Cases were participants who reported to have physician-diagnosed diabetes at follow-up visits during 2006–2010, whereas controls were randomly selected among those who remained free of diabetes and were matched to the index cases by age, sex, dialect group and date of urine collection. Conditional logistic regression models were used to calculate OR and 95 % CI with adjustment for potential confounders. The mean age of the participants at the time of urine collection was 59·8 years, and the average interval between urine collection and diabetes diagnosis was 4·0 years. The multivariate-adjusted OR for diabetes were 1·00 (reference), 0·76 (95 % CI 0·52, 1·11), 0·78 (95 % CI 0·53, 1·14) and 0·79 (95 % CI 0·54, 1·15) across quartiles of urine isoflavones (Pfor trend=0·54), and were 1·00 (reference), 0·87 (95 % CI 0·60, 1·27), 1·10 (95 % CI 0·77, 1·56) and 0·93 (95 % CI 0·63, 1·37) for lignans (Pfor trend=0·93). The results were similar in men and women, as well as for individual metabolites of isoflavones (genistein, daidzein, glycitin and equol) or lignans (enterodiol and enterolactone). The present study did not find a significant association between urine phyto-oestrogen metabolites and risk of type 2 diabetes in Chinese adults.
To examine the association between urinary excretion of isoflavonoids and risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), we conducted a nested case–control study among 1111 T2D pairs identified during 1995–2008 in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHSII, who were free of diabetes, CVD and cancer at urine sample collection. Urinary excretion of daidzein and genistein, as well as their metabolites O-desmethylangolensin (O-DMA), dihydrogenistein (DHGE) and dihydrodaidzein (DHDE) was assayed using liquid chromatography MS. Self-reported T2D incident cases were confirmed using a validated questionnaire. Higher urinary excretion of daidzein and genistein was associated with a lower risk of T2D in the combined cohorts. Comparing extreme tertiles of the urinary markers, the OR of T2D were 0·71 (95 % CI 0·55, 0·93) for daidzein and 0·74 (95 % CI 0·56, 0·97) for genistein, although the test for linear trend was not significant for genistein (Ptrend=0·03 and 0·15, respectively). DMA, DHDE and DHGE were non-significantly associated with a lower T2D risk. The inverse association of daidzein with T2D risk was stronger among post-menopausal women who did not use hormone replacement therapy (Pinteraction=0·001): the OR was 0·58 (95 % CI 0·34, 0·97) comparing extreme tertiles among these women. In conclusion, urinary excretion of isoflavones was associated with a lower T2D risk in US women, especially among post-menopausal women who did not use hormone. Further research is warranted to replicate these observations among western populations with similarly low overall isoflavone intake.
To assess the association between maternal caffeine intake and risk of pregnancy loss using a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Categorical and dose–response meta-analysis of prospective studies.
Relevant articles were identified by searching MEDLINE and SCOPUS databases through 30 January 2015. Two authors independently extracted information from eligible studies. Random-effects models were used to derive the summary relative risks (RR) and corresponding 95 % CI for specific categories of caffeine consumption and for a continuous association using generalized least-squares trend estimation.
A total of 130 456 participants and 3429 cases in fourteen included studies.
Compared with the reference category with no or very low caffeine intake, the RR (95 % CI) of pregnancy loss was 1·02 (0·85, 1·24; I2=28·3 %) for low intake (50–149 mg/d), 1·16 (0·94, 1·41; I2=49·6 %) for moderate intake (150–349 mg/d), 1·40 (1·16, 1·68; I2=18·6 %) for high intake (350–699 mg/d) and 1·72 (1·40, 2·13; I2=0·0 %) for very high intake (≥700 mg/d). In the dose–response analysis, each 100 mg/d increment in maternal caffeine intake (~1 cup of coffee) was associated with 7 % (95 % CI 3 %, 12 %) higher risk of pregnancy loss. Our results may have been affected by publication bias, but the association remained significant for the subset of larger studies. Furthermore, adjustment for smoking and pregnancy symptoms may have been incomplete, potentially resulting in residual confounding.
Albeit inconclusive, higher maternal caffeine intake was associated with a higher risk of pregnancy loss and adherence to guidelines to avoid high caffeine intake during pregnancy appears prudent.
High consumption of refined grains, particularly white rice, has been reported to be associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated the association between rice and noodle consumption and markers of glucose homeostasis, inflammation and dyslipidaemia in an Asian population. We carried out a population-based cross-sectional study in 2728 Singaporean Chinese men and women aged between 24 and 92 years. Rice and noodle intake was assessed using a validated FFQ and studied in relation to glycaemic (fasting glucose, glycated Hb, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) index for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and HOMA index for β-cell function (HOMA-β)), inflammatory (plasma adiponectin and C-reactive protein (CRP)) and lipid (fasting TAG and HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C)) markers. We used multiple linear regression analyses with adjustment for total energy intake and sociodemographic, anthropometric (BMI and waist:hip ratio) and lifestyle factors. Higher rice consumption was found to be associated with higher fasting glucose concentrations (0·81 % higher values per portion increment; 95 % CI 0·09, 1·54) and HOMA-IR (4·62 %; 95 % CI 1·29, 8·07). Higher noodle consumption was also found to be significantly associated with higher fasting glucose concentrations (1·67 %; 95 % CI 0·44, 2·92), HOMA-IR (6·17 %; 95 % CI 0·49, 12·16) and fasting TAG concentrations (9·17 %; 95 % CI 3·44, 15·22). No significant association was observed between rice and noodle consumption and adiponectin, CRP and HDL-C concentrations or HOMA-β in the fully adjusted model. These results suggest that high consumption of rice and noodles may contribute to hyperglycaemia through greater insulin resistance and that this relationship is independent of adiposity and systemic inflammation.
To examine changes in food consumption during pregnancy and the postpartum period in women of major Asian ethnic groups.
Using interviewer-administered questionnaires, we assessed changes in food consumption during pregnancy (26–28 weeks’ gestation) and the postpartum period (3 weeks after delivery) as compared with the usual pre-pregnancy diet.
Pregnant women (n 1027) of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnicity (mean age 30·4 (sd 5·2) years) who participated in the Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) study.
During pregnancy, participants tended to increase their consumption of milk, fruit and vegetables and decrease their consumption of tea, coffee, soft drinks and seafood (all P < 0·001). Most participants reported adherence to traditional restrictions (‘confinement’) during the early postpartum period (Chinese: 94·8 %, Malay: 91·6 %, Indian: 79·6 %). During the postpartum period, participants tended to increase their consumption of fish and milk-based drinks and decrease their consumption of noodles, seafood, and chocolates and sweets (all P < 0·001). Ethnic differences in food consumption were pronounced during the postpartum period. For example, most Chinese participants (87·2 %) increased their ginger consumption during the postpartum period as compared with smaller percentages of Malays (31·8 %) and Indians (40·8 %; P for ethnic difference <0·001). Similar ethnic differences were observed for cooking wine/alcohol, herbs and spices, and herbal tea consumption.
Marked changes in food consumption that reflect both modern dietary recommendations and the persistence of traditional beliefs were observed in Singaporean women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Traditional beliefs should be considered in interventions to improve dietary intakes during these periods.