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Teo EY, Lew PS, Foo CS
Correspondence: Dr Eng Yee Teo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Obesity is a real and dangerous problem with rising incidence. This study aimed to examine public perceptions of obesity as a disease, as well as the community’s impression of the various modalities in the management of obesity, particularly bariatric surgery, in Singapore.
Methods Volunteers from the public were approached in 2010 to complete a questionnaire that collected both their demographic data and perceptions on obesity, management of obesity and bariatric surgery. The perceptions of the respondents were analysed based on various demographic factors.
Results The incidence of obesity was 16.8%. Consistent with previous studies in developed countries, the highest mean body mass index was noted in the age range of 41–50 years. 95.6% of the population surveyed were aware that obesity was related to significant medical conditions. 60% of the population surveyed had attempted weight loss in the past, with 41.7% expressing lack of success, and 58.4% expressed that they had not heard of surgery as a modality.
Conclusion This study shows that the majority of the population understands the significance of obesity as a medical problem and would take steps to combat it. However, there is suboptimal knowledge of the various modalities of managing obesity as a disease, especially with regard to surgical options. More education on the modalities available and access to them would help in the combat of this obesity epidemic.
Keywords: bariatric surgery, obesity, public perception
Singapore Med J 2012; 53(2): 104–108