Sunday, July 29, 2012

5-year health promotion plan for Hong Kah ward

SINGAPORE: Hong Kah North constituency has launched a five-year health promotion plan which covers exercise, food and lifestyle.

This comes after the establishment of the national Constituency Health Promotion Grant.

Every constituency gets up to S$10,000 a year to fund health programmes and activities on nutrition, physical activity, mental wellness, tobacco control or chronic disease management.

Forty-one-year-old Serene Mak conducts supermarket tours for residents.

As a health ambassador, her job is to help them choose food that is healthy.

"Residents still need a bit of time to adapt because in mindset, they think that in everyday marketing they know the best choice.. But they don't know that actually we do not just choose one kind of colour... not just green. Fresh (ingredients) have to be more colourful (so as to provide) different types of vitamins," she said.

The supermarket tour is one programme that will be rolled out over the next 12 months as part of Hong Kah North's five-year health promotion plan.

Also included are healthy cooking demonstrations at community centres and exercise classes.

Dr Amy Khor, MP for Hong Kah North, Singapore Minister of State for Health, said: "The best way to improve our quality of life and reduce the incidence of chronic disease and so on, really is through preventive health measures, adopting a healthy lifestyle, healthy diet... that will also help mitigate medical expenses."

Dr Khor plans to rope in at least 500 health ambassadors over the next five years.

Currently, Hong Kah North has 50 of them.

The five-year plan is customised for residents in Hong Kah North. This after a survey found that less than half of residents engaged in the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week. It also showed that seven in 10 consumed too much salt and sugar but not enough fruit.

So far, 24 constituencies have applied for the Health Promotion Grant.

CEO of the Health Promotion Board, Mr Ang Hak Seng, said: "These are bottom-up proposals that are co-created with the constituencies and HBP and customised to the particular needs of the constituency. For example, Geylang Serai Constituency actually used part of the funds to educate healthy eating during Ramadan. And Ayer Rajah Constituency used the funds to encourage our senior citizens to go for screening at the community centre."

Next year, a programme targeted at busy working mothers will be launched in Hong Kah North to teach them how to prepare healthier meals for their families.

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