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Hard to keep a healthy lifestyle in Singapore?
In Singapore, there is a Healthy Lifestyle Programme that was first launched back in the early 1990s to cope with the increasing demands workplace environments and societal demands. The gist of the programme aims to educate locals about healthy activities and behaviour that would otherwise be detrimental to health (mental and physical). Singapore scores well in terms of demographic properties such as having a high life expectancy rate[ii] as compared to global average value but the situation on the ground seems to be much worse.
In a recent study done by the Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB) back in 2010, they have found out that at least 1.7million Singaporeans have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23 and above, into obesity range with 1 million of them already suffering from obesity-related diseases[iii]
Most Singaporeans will be in denial, saying that they are leading an average lifestyle that is neither too unhealthy nor too healthy or admit to an unhealthy lifestyle but takes no action. Surely, but one can adapt a healthy lifestyle through many different ways; avoid smoking, engaging in regular physical activities, healthy diet, regular sleep, maintaining low-levels of stress and more. As such, how hard is it to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Singapore?
For starters, you can find out the degree of healthiness you are currently at by taking this survey brought by HPB. This index measures your lifestyle in terms of food intake and other daily activities and it is a pretty good gauge of which level you are at as compared to the level of healthiness you perceived yourself to be at. You can find out more about how healthy is your lifestyle with PHB’s Healthy Lifestyle Index at https://www.healthylifestyleindex.sg/
In Singapore, one major setback for a healthy lifestyle campaign is the widespread scarcity of healthy food (and again, the term ‘healthy food’ is vague). In local culture, hawker centres and coffee shops play a huge part of our daily lives and in our Asian culture, food sold in such places tend to be prepared towards the ‘savoury’ scale instead of the ‘healthy’ scale; main considerations for food will be taste, texture, smell, etc. instead of less salty, less sweet and healthier food alternatives.
We should also try to find time to do some simple exercises, take up a sport etc. But working professionals like myself will find excuses like "I am too busy with work". My Chairperson, Dr Jannie Chan (69 years old) did told me this before, "If I have the energy and time to purse my business and dancing, so do you." Well I am still working towards that and there are many other setbacks and reasons to describe why maintaining a healthy lifestyle is difficult in Singapore.
Therefore, to end this off, understanding the implications and knowing the numbers do not make a difference to anyone’s lifestyle, action speaks louder than words and join our island-wide initiative… <heads off jogging or maybe dancing...>
Check this out: https://www.hpb.gov.sg/
Chief Marketing Officer
Scientific Tradition Pte Ltd
Scientific Tradition Pte Ltd