Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health, at the Rise & Shine Carnival, 18 April 2015

Ladies and gentlemen,

Parents,

Boys and Girls.

           Good morning. I am pleased to join you this morning and I trust that you are having a great time with your family. Over a thousand families are here to support leading active lives and get into the Singapore Book of Records for doing so. This is indeed a commendable commitment.

Get Active

2          Our National Health Surveillance Survey 2013 showed that about one in four Singaporeans aged between 18 to 69 years old do not have sufficient total physical activity. There is certainly room for families to be more active. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends that adults accumulate at least 2½ hours (150 minutes) of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity, every week. Such physical activities can be integrated into our daily living and include leisurely activities like taking the stairs instead of lifts or walking to the market instead of taking the bus. Such easy and incidental physical activities, you will be surprised, can make a difference to our health.

3          Our children, too, can be encouraged to lead more active lives.  Children below 7 years old should accumulate 3 hours of active play daily, while those aged 7 to 18 years should accumulate an hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. They should also limit sedentary entertainment screen time to no more than two hours per day.

Positive Habits Begin from Young

4          As parents, we can be role models as well nurture positive habits in our children from young, such as by exercising regularly, practising healthy eating habits, and communicating with our loved ones for their emotional and mental well-being. We need to eat well and eat right. We can make healthier food choices for our families to cultivate good eating habits. 

Government Doing Its Part

5          On its part, the Government has put in place various programmes and initiatives to promote and nurture a healthy living environment – beginning in schools. “My Healthy Plate”, an easy-to-understand visual representation of a balanced and healthy diet, has now been incorporated into primary and secondary school textbooks. Preschools are also supported with comprehensive lesson plans for teachers to introduce this concept to the children.

6          Today, only 1 in 5 of our Secondary school students eat at least 2 servings of fruits and 2 servings of vegetables every day.  In contrast, about 1 in 2 drink sweetened drinks every day.

7          To bring healthier meals to children in school, HPB has been working with the childcare centres, schools and Post-secondary Educational Institutions to provide healthy meals and food choices. School canteen stalls are also encouraged to offer healthier options, such as serving more fruits and vegetables, reducing the amount of gravy in dishes and also cutting down on the days when fried food is sold.

8          HPB is also working with MOE to further reduce the sugar content of drinks in vending machines and drink stalls. The aim is to partner all schools in this effort by 1st January next year.

Everyone Has Role to Play

9          I urge everyone here – parents, caregivers and the community - to also play your role. Reinforce healthy eating and living amongst your children and loved ones at home and at every opportunity.

10        With activities like this Rise and Shine Carnival to add to our health promotion efforts, we can work together towards the goal of a healthier and happier Singapore.

11        Thank you very much and have a wonderful day ahead.

 

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