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Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention & Management

Prevention of Chronic Disease

Prevention of Chronic Disease

In Singapore and around the world, sedentary lifestyles and diets rich in processed and energy-dense foods, coupled with longer lifespans, put individuals and populations at high risk of developing chronic diseases. Our national burden of disease is increasingly shifting towards long-term conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular illness. In these circumstances it becomes increasingly important to address unhealthy lifestyles in order to prevent chronic diseases and manage them once they are established.

Preventing long-term conditions from developing in healthy members of the public is crucial for maintaining the best quality of life for individuals and also sustaining a healthy population and an active workforce. In order to prevent long-term conditions, it is important to understand how people perceive wellness and illness, and the behaviours associated with good health. We also need to develop widely accessible approaches to identify those at risk of a chronic disease, and then to encourage appropriate active living and healthy diet. The three programmes outlined here describe some of the research at CDPM aimed at preventing chronic diseases.

Living with diabetes can prove discouraging and relentless, which may exacerbate the difficulty of effective diabetes self-management. This project aims to understand people’s beliefs regarding health, diabetes and life in general, and how certain (mis)beliefs can shape expectations, attitudes and lifestyle behaviours in ways that impact health outcomes.


Using a range of measures including established psychological scales, we completed a population survey with over 1,000 participants in Singapore—comprising individuals with diabetes and those without diabetes—across age groups, genders and ethnicities. The findings from this initial study revealed notable distinctions between the beliefs of individuals with diabetes and those of individuals without diabetes on health-related constructs, while indicating less differences between diabetic and non-diabetic individuals on life-general psychological constructs.


These initial insights prompted a set of follow-up studies that focusses on specific psychological constructs to validate and extend these findings to both Singapore and US populations. Results from these surveys will inform the development of future interventions to address gaps in beliefs by reducing the perceived psychological barriers and equipping patients with strategies to fundamentally shape their motivations and encourage improved self-management of diabetes.

Partners and Collaborators

  • Prof Leonard Lee, NUS Business School (Department of Marketing) and Lloyd's Register Foundation Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk (NUS)
  • Assistant Prof Isabel L. Ding, Warwick Business School (Department of Marketing)
  • Dr Yew Tong Wei, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NUH Department of Endocrinology


  • Dr Carolyn J. Lo, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Lloyd's Register Foundation Institute for the Public Understanding of Risk (NUS)
  • Prof Tai E-Shyong, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and NUH Department of Endocrinology

CDPM website graphic (updated 19Jan2022).png

HeartAge is a tool that presents an individual’s cardiovascular disease risk in a manner that has been demonstrated to more effectively engage individuals following health screening. The HeartAge tool is first developed in the United Kingdom. Together with the Singapore Heart Foundation, we adapted the use for our local population. The HeartAge tool provides a simple yet impactful manner of explaining cardiovascular risk by displaying an individual’s heart age based on his/her risk factors like BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and smoking habits. The tool is accessible at

Results from HeartAge will be reflected on a digital health programme - HOPE (Healthy living with Online suPport & Education) to support individuals' efforts to lower their heart age by initiating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With support from National Council of Social Services Singapore and collaboration with University Health Network, Canada, we have developed a 24-week HOPE programme that focuses on structured behavioural modifications and evidence-based guides for heart-healthy living from experts across Singapore.
In collaboration with the Health Promotion Board, we have also developed a diet tracker that is catered for HOPE. Individuals can access the programme and track their heart health journey through the HOPE mobile application, which is planned for implementation by end of 2022.

Pilot testing of the HOPE web-based platform is expected to run till June 2022. Based on pilot test outcomes, we will make necessary changes to the mobile application. Subsequently, we will commence recruitment of a randomised control trial to test the efficacy of the HOPE programme in September 2022.

Partners and Collaborators

  • National Council of Social Services (NCSS)
  • Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF)
  • Health Promotion Board (HPB)
  • Younger Lives Limited, London, United Kingdom
  • University Health Network (UHN), Toronto, Canada
  • Telehealth Core, National University Health System (NUHS)
  • Dr. Rob Nolan, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada
  • Dr. Foong Pin Sym, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health


  • Ng Sin Nee, National University Hospital (NUH)
  • Jumana Hashim, NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
  • Ivy Ting Jing Rou, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine
  • Jennifer Leung You Ci, National University Hospital (NUH)
Digital Tool for Health