1 in 9 Singaporeans has diabetes and an estimated of 33% of the population is overweight, the second highest in the ASEAN region. It is estimated that there will be 1 million diabetics by 2050 as Singaporeans get older and fatter.

In the continued war against diabetes, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has ramped up public education on leading healthier lifestyles, health screenings for early identification of individuals with diabetes as well as support in the management of the disease to prevent or delay complications. Recognising its role in nudging healthier behaviours among consumers, the industry continues to deliver nutrition through the development of healthier products by accelerating their innovation and reformulation efforts in response to the growing health challenges.

Join us as we chat with Professor Teo Yik Ying, National University of Singapore, Dr Ralph Graichen, A*Star, Terence Ng, Health Promotion Board and Shirley Zhu, IGD, on some the key issues: 

Key takeaways: 

  • Current policy measures that are being discussed to curb the rates of diabetes (and obesity) in Singapore

  • How the industry is responding to the growing health challenges and is it enough? 

  • What are the challenges and opportunities for a holistic approach to drive healthier eating habits within the Singapore population?

  • How can the various sectors play a key role for a healthier Singapore?


Prof Teo

Teo Yik Ying
Dean and Professor
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
National University of Singapore

Professor Teo Yik Ying is Dean at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore. He also helms the iOmics Programme at the Life Sciences Institute, and is an Associate Faculty Member of the Genome Institute of Singapore.

A keen researcher by nature, Prof Teo has gained international recognition for his work in genomics, where his focus is in the development and application of mathematical and statistical techniques to understand the genetic causes of human diseases and genetic evolution in worldwide populations. He has conducted large scale genomic studies on populations from Africa, Europe and Asia, and currently chairs an international consortium investigating the genetic diversity of cosmopolitan and indigenous populations in Asia.

Prof Teo majored in statistical genetics, having completed his doctoral training at the University of Oxford after obtaining a Distinction for his Masters in Applied Statistics at Oxford and graduating top of the cohort for the Bachelor programme in Mathematics at Imperial College, United Kingdom. He pursued his postdoctoral training with the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, where he was concurrently appointed as a Lecturer at the Statistics Department in Oxford.

Prof Teo has previously served as the Director for the Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research, where the Centre works closely with the Singapore Ministry of Defence to develop capabilities for disease surveillance, consultation and research to deter and to control potential infectious disease outbreaks. He was also the Founding Director of the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, which approaches systems-level healthcare issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, connecting healthcare workers, patients, researchers, policy- and decision-makers to tackle complex themes in the fast-changing nature of health services delivery. For his contributions and achievements to academic and public health, Prof Teo was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Singapore Youth Award (2011), the Young Scientist Award by the Singapore National Academy of Science (2010), the NUHS-Mochtar Riady Pinnacle Young Achiever Award (2015), and the Outstanding Young Persons of the

World award in the category of Academic Leadership and Achievements (2015). He was also conferred numerous scholarships during his education, including the Public Service Commission scholarship (1997), the Shell Centenary Scholarship (2000), the Lee Kuan Yew Postgraduate Scholarship (2003) and the NUS Overseas Graduate Scholarship (2003).

Growing up in a family of educators, Prof Teo is both a passionate and exceptional educator, and has won numerous faculty and university awards for teaching excellence from both NUS and Oxford.

Ralph Graichen
Director, Food & Nutrition
Biomedical Research Council 
A*STAR Singapore

Dr. Ralph is currently Director, Food and Nutrition, Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. In his current position with A*STAR, Ralph is working with strategic partners to administer and develop new initiatives and programmes in the research areas of food and nutrition. 

He has a co-appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor with Nanyang Technological University, School of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering. He also sits on the advisory panel of the Food Innovation & Resource Centre, Singapore Polytechnic as well as multiple grant review committees. Ralph has over 12 years of experience in the local and global biomedical and nutrition industry.

Ralph graduated with a master in Biology from the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany and attained his PhD from the National University Singapore through the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. Ralph attended the Food System Leadership Institute, a program of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Terence Ng
Deputy Director
Policy, Research and Surveillance Division 
Health Promotion Board

Terence is the Deputy Director in the Policy, Research and Surveillance Division in the Health Promotion Board Singapore. He is responsible for the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of priority public health policy in the board, including food, nutrition and physical activity. He holds a law degree and a Masters in Sociology. 


Kalpana Bhaskaran
Domain Lead, Applied Nutrition Research
Head, Glycemic Index Research Unit, School of Applied Science
Temasek Polytechnic

Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran is currently the Domain Lead for Applied Nutrition and Glycemic Index Research at Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore. She championed the design, planning and implementation of Singapore’s and the region’s first accredited Glycemic Index Research Unit (GIRU). She has a diverse portfolio of experience in clinical nutrition research, glycemic index testing, lecturing, project management, food product development and consultancy services. She is currently the Principal Investigator for five ongoing research studies in the area of Glycemic Index, Applied Nutrition,efficacy testing and dysphagia.

Her project management experience includes vendor management, contract negotiations, strategic planning, team leadership management with expertise in leading and building cohesive cross functional teams, collaborating with local and overseas companies.

She was awarded the “Inaugural Teaching Excellence Award” in 2009 for outstanding lecturing and pedagogy. She was conferred the National Day Honours award for recognition of her work and its impact to diabetes management and education in 2014. In September 2017, her team was awarded the Innergy award by the Ministry of Education. This award is to recognise project teams who brought about significant benefits to stakeholders through their innovation efforts.

She is invited to sit on the Singapore Armed Forces Feeding and Institutional Catering advisory panel to offer her expertise in the area of food and nutrition. She is also in the Ministry of Health (MOH) working group on “Patient empowerment” which is one the initiatives by MOH to beat diabetes. She regularly acts as a food and nutrition consultant to local and overseas food companies. A frequently featured commentator for her expert opinion on food and nutrition issues in both print and television media, Dr Kalpana is also invited to speak at local and overseas conferences and seminars.
She is the Vice President of Diabetes Singapore and the Vice President of Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association. She is also the member of Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, USA, Singapore Heart Foundation and Singapore Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Shirley Zhu
Programme Director
IGD Services (Singapore)

Shirley Zhu leads IGD’s research programme in the Southeast Asia region. Shirley has extensive research experience in the FMCG industry and has helped many multinational and local clients achieve their strategic objectives. Her role with IGD involves strategic planning, expanding research coverage in Asia and building a network of the consumer goods industry in the region.