ACJC Economics Symposium
Overweight: Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The
excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Individuals with a BMI of
25 to 29.9 are considered overweight.
Obesity: Obesity refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat.
Individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese.
BMI or body mass index: A number of methods are used to determine if someone is
overweight or obese. The most commonly used method today is body mass index (BMI).BMI
or body mass index is found by weight (kg) / height squared (m²).
Approximately 300,000 adult deaths in the United States each year are attributable to
unhealthy dietary habits and physical inactivity or sedentary behavior. Nearly two-thirds of U.S.
adults are overweight (BMI > 25, which includes those who are obese).Nearly one-third of U.S.
adults are obese (BMI > 30).The prevalence of overweight and obesity has steadily increased
over the years among both genders, all ages, all racial/ethnic groups, and educational levels.
Approximately 15.3 percent of children (ages 6–11) and 15.5 percent of adolescents (ages
12–19) were overweight in 2000. An additional 15 percent of children and 14.9 percent of
adolescents were at risk for overweight (based on BMI / body mass index measures).
An estimated 70 percent of diabetes risk in the U.S. can be attributed to excess weight.
Americans spend $33 billion annually on weight-loss products and services.
About 25 percent of young people (ages 12–21 years) participate in light to moderate activity
(e.g., walking, bicycling) nearly every day. About 50 percent regularly engage in vigorous
physical activity. Approximately 25 percent report no vigorous physical activity, and 14
percent report no recent vigorous or light to moderate physical activity.
The percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has more than
doubled since the early 1970s. In 1999-2000, over 10 percent of younger preschool children
between ages 2 and 5 are overweight, up from 7 percent in 1994
Obesity: in statistics
People are getting fatter almost everywhere in the world.
The World Health Organization predicts there will be 2.3 billion
overweight adults in the world by 2015 and more than 700
million of them will be obese.
Obesity is a modern problem - statistics for it did not even exist
50 years ago. The increase of convenience foods,
labour-saving devices, motorised transport and more sedentary
jobs means people are getting fatter.
Measuring children, aged 5 to 14 years, who are overweight or obese is challenging because
there is not a standard definition of childhood obesity applied worldwide. Experts are worried
that the increase in obesity will lead to more health problems
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
Type 2 diabetes
Coronary heart disease
Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
Some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
Overweight is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Data from two NHANES
surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2004) show that the prevalence of overweight is increasing: for
children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 13.9%; for those aged 6–11 years,
prevalence increased from 6.5% to 18.8%; and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence
increased from 5.0% to 17.4%.
In America, a changing environment has broadened food options and eating habits.
Pre-packaged foods, fast food restaurants, and soft drinks are also more accessible. While
they are fast and convenient they also tend to be high in fat, sugar, and calories. Choosing
them may contribute to an excessive calorie intake. Some foods are marketed as healthy, low
fat, or fat-free, but may contain more calories than the fat containing food they are designed to
Our bodies need calories for daily functions such as breathing, digestion, and daily activities.
Weight gain occurs when calories consumed exceed this need. Physical activity plays a key
role in energy balance because it uses up calories consumed.
Physical activity decreases the risk for diseases. It also helps to control weight, contributes to
healthy body organisms; reduces falls among the elderly; and helps to relieve the pain of
arthritis. However, most Americans are sedentary. Technology has created many time and
labor saving products that have reduced the overall amount of energy expended in our daily
lives, like cars, elevators, computers, dishwashers, and televisions. According to the
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, in 2000 more than 26% of adults reported no
leisure time physical activity.
The belief that physical activity is limited to exercise or sports, may keep people from being
active. Another myth is that physical activity must be vigorous to achieve health benefits.
Physical activity is any bodily movement that results in an expenditure of energy.
Moderate-intensity activities such as household chores, gardening, and walking can also
provide health benefits.
People may make decisions based on their environment or community. For example, a person
may choose not to walk to the store or to work because of a lack of sidewalks. Communities,
homes, and workplaces can all influence people's health decisions. Because of this influence,
it is important to create environments in these locations that make it easier to engage in
physical activity and to eat a healthy diet.
Genes can directly cause obesity in disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome and Prader-Willi
syndrome. However genes do not always predict future health. Genes and behavior may both
need for a person to be overweight. In some cases multiple genes may increase one’s
susceptibility for obesity and require outside factors; such as abundant food supply or little
Diseases and Drugs
Some illnesses may lead to obesity or weight gain. These may include Cushing's disease, and
polycystic ovary syndrome. Drugs such as steroids and some antidepressants may also cause
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans are throwing away
garbage at an accelerating pace. Americans generated 245.7 million tons of municipal solid
waste in 2005-a 20 percent increase over 1990 and 102 percent increase over 1970.
Americans currently toss out 4.5 pounds of trash per day per person. While modern landfills
bear scant resemblance to the old city dump, few people want them as neighbors. Consider
California: Edgar & Associates, a waste industry consulting firm, finds the number of active
landfills in California has dropped from 224 to 158 since 1993. In the next 15 years, six landfills
in Los Angeles County are slated to close and garbage will be shipped ever further
distances-at greater cost and producing more pollution.
In simple terms the waste stream contains three major components: (1) organic materials
(plant and food matter); (2) recyclable or reusable materials (typically metals, glass,
cardboard and some plastics); and (3) the remains.
Singapore’s Competitiveness Challenge
Singapore's competitive edge eroding
A shortage of talent is still the biggest headache for businesses in Singapore, but sharp pay
hikes in recent years - on top of increases in rentals and other costs - are triggering concerns
about the island's competitive edge.
Pay in Singapore continued to shoot up in 2007. Polls taken showed Singapore workers have
been enjoying the biggest bonuses in Asia in the past two years - and their pay, already higher
than that in emerging economies, was rising just as fast as in these economies.
Economists and businesses acknowledge that the jump in pay reflects the tight local labour
market, as employers up salaries to attract scarce workers. But the persistence and scale of
the increases are leading bosses to keep a closer eye on wage movements. And some
observers caution that if they continue, sharp pay hikes will hurt Singapore's competitiveness.
Singapore Economic SWOT
Strengths Singapore controls monetary policy by managing the exchange rate
against an undisclosed basket of currencies.
Singapore's current account surplus remains over 20% of GDP and its
external finances are in good shape. This is reflected by the world's
credit-rating agencies, which continue to award Singapore top marks for
Weaknes Volatile economic output remains a problem as the tiny, trade-dependent
ses economy is so exposed to global trends in demand for electronic goods,
which account for around half of Singapore's non-oil exports.
Singapore faces a number of long-term economic problems. Productivity is
low, competition from low-cost neighbouring countries is on the increase
and structural unemployment is placing a growing burden on the economy.
Opportun In the face of regional challenges for both its exports and investment, the
ities government is encouraging economic diversification to boost the country's
competitiveness. New areas being promoted are biomedical sciences,
tourism, medical and financial services, as well as plans to develop two
Threats There is significant state involvement in the private sector, with the
government refusing to disclose the assets of the Government of
Singapore Investment Corp (GIC). The GIC is one of the world's largest
institutional investors, managing foreign exchange reserves and
government funds worth over US$100bn. Without increased openness,
investor confidence could be damaged and domestic growth hindered.
High labour costs will continue to be an issue as long as cheap labour in
China continues to undercut Singapore's competitiveness.
Singapore Political SWOT
Strengths Singapore enjoys a stable political system, following the
country's second change of leadership in 40 years, with Lee
Hsien Loong - taking over as prime minister in 2004.
Official promises have been made to eradicate Singapore's
reputation as being an overprotective nanny-state, with efforts to
enhance freedom of expression.
Weaknesses Singapore is not a properly functioning democracy. The ruling
People's Action Party (PAP) has all but two seats in parliament,
and the opposition is restricted from campaigning through tight
control over political debate and frequent use of libel laws.
The government has yet to improve the situation for the less
well off in Singapore, with a rising wage gap between the top
earners and the lowest paid.
Opportunities Lee is proving himself a capable leader, moving away from the
shadow of his father (Lee Kuan Yew)by taking on the role of
finance minister and repeatedly calling for more openness.
Singapore is leading its regional neighbours in signing free
trade agreements. Increased regional integration is likely to
give the island more influence in the region.
Threats There are fears that Singapore's foreign policy alignment with
the US will cause the tiny city-state to become a target for terror
attacks launched by Muslim extremists.
Singapore's close relationship with the US, with military ties
expanding significantly, may rile other Asian countries. This will
make it harder to establish closer regional security ties.
Singapore Business Environment SWOT
Strengths Singapore is the least corrupt country in Asia, according to
Transparency International, a Berlin-based anti-corruption
Strikes and labour protests will remain rare, if not absent, in
Singapore for the foreseeable future due to the government's
autocratic insistence on a business-friendly environment.
Policymakers will continue to use heavy-handed tactics to ensure
the unions stay pliant.
Industry deregulation is advanced in the oil sector, with a mature
competitive landscape and a good location for regional refining and
Weaknesses Political and economic stability has come at a price. The Singapore
government censors the media and limits the distribution of foreign
publications. The judiciary's record of siding with prominent
politicians calls into question the true extent of its neutrality in any
contract dispute involving a politically sensitive issue.
Competition from other Asian states in refining and petrochemicals
is rising, putting pressure on margins and returns.
Opportunities Due to the lack of progress at the World Trade Organisation (WTO),
the Singaporean government has committed the country to sign 19
bilateral free-trade agreements.
Singapore has one of the best business operating environments in
Asia. This is reflected by Singapore's second place in an Index of
Economic Freedom league table complied by the Heritage
Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.
Strong growth in regional oil and chemicals demand provides scope
for capacity expansion.
Threats The risk of a terrorist attack in Singapore, which has increased since
the Bali bombings in neighbouring Indonesia in 2002 and 2005, is a
major deterrent to foreign investors, who are concerned about the
spread of Islamic terrorists to Singapore.
China is now seen as the key regional market and much of IOC
downstream oil and petrochemicals FDI may be diverted away from