Slim Wave in Singapore

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A number of diet pill manufacturers from China, such as Kunming Dali Industry and Guangzhou Shining Trading, are riding on Singapore’s “slim wave” to make money. In Asia, the idea of a slim figure has turned from a Hollywood-induced dream into an obsession. The glossy magazines geared toward women have covers adorned with slim, petite models. Local newspapers constantly feature advertisements portraying slim actresses and models who have transformed themselves from bloated balloons into sunbathing beauties. Slimming is increasingly seen as one of the panaceas for Singapore’s societal ills, many young women feel that being slimmer can change the way they feel about themselves. The obesity rate among young Chinese women in Singapore is only 4.2 percent. However, Singapore is ranked fifth in per capita consumption of diet pills in the world. Even the women who are not obese are taking diet pills to be slimmer. This has led to a whole host of products claiming to reduce weight with little effort flooding the market. Advertisements claim that they promote “the natural way to losing weight,” that they allow women to “lose kilograms without avoiding [their] favorite foods.” The idea they sell—that a natural product or method can reduce weight without exercise or diet—is obviously tempting. However, most of these over-the-counter diet pills have negative side effects, and often go to market without undergoing comprehensive clinical tests. The Health Services Authority of Singapore requires that all diet pills sold in Singapore should list ingredients visibly. Since most of these products use the natural herbal name, the exact nature of the chemicals used remains unknown to the user. In addition, the Internet offers the average Singaporean buyer another host of “slimming medicines” that are not bound by these regulations, and fail to list ingredients at all.3 The tragic incidents in Singapore caused by the Slim 10 pills created a wave of shock among the...
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