S’pore DNA-mapping participant exercising daily after health check-up shows he has risk of hip issues

SINGAPORE – Since getting his first bone scan in August as part of a national study to map the DNA of 100,000 Singaporeans, Mr J. K. Saravana, 41, has made it a habit to clock 2½ hours of exercise daily after learning that he was at risk of hip issues and high cholesterol.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the official launch of the SG100K study at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) on Friday.

Mr Saravana and his wife are among nearly 70,000 Singaporeans so far who have had their health screened as part of the study’s quest to identify factors associated with diseases prevalent in Singapore, such as diabetes and cancer.

Since receiving his health report, the media business chairman now wakes up at 6am to do yoga, cycles 5km to 10km every morning, eats lighter meals, and has since lost about 5kg over two months.

“As I have a daughter, I hope my data will benefit her, generations to come and my family as well,” said Mr Saravana, who has been going for regular health check-ups for the past six years.

Some, like Madam Norhayati Sukaimi, 55, have taken the national study as an opportunity to get a free health assessment.

Singaporeans and permanent residents of all ethnicities, aged 30 to 84, including those with pre-existing conditions, can take part in the multi-institutional study.

Blood and tissue samples are collected from participants, and other data, such as lung function, cognitive performance and physical health, is recorded.

Participants will be given a detailed health report at no charge, and they can use it for discussion with their doctors.

Said Madam Norhayati: “Because I’ve never been to a doctor for a full check-up, this was my opportunity to know about myself and what’s actually happening in my body.”

Upon learning that she has high cholesterol, the housewife, whose mother died of a heart attack in 2004, has cut down on oily and fatty foods, as well as stopped snacking after midnight.

She said: “I hope my data can also help others because prevention is better than cure.”

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