National Day Rally survey

Message on healthy living hits home

To promote healthy living, some primary schools have done away with drink stalls. Some 86 per cent of people surveyed said they would heed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's advice to cut down on sugar intake.
To promote healthy living, some primary schools have done away with drink stalls. Some 86 per cent of people surveyed said they would heed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's advice to cut down on sugar intake.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

91% polled agree diabetes is a serious issue deserving national attention

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's message on healthy living during this year's National Day Rally has struck a chord, according to a survey conducted by Reach.

The government feedback unit found in a telephone poll that it was the issue that most resonated with Singaporeans in the speech that also covered pre-school education and Singapore's journey to becoming a Smart Nation.

So much so that 91 per cent of respondents agreed diabetes was a serious issue that deserved national attention.

And 86 per cent said they would heed PM Lee's advice to cut down on sugar intake by choosing healthier food options like brown rice.

Reach chairman Sam Tan, who is Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said: "Many felt that it was timely that the PM highlighted the seriousness of the issue, and felt encouraged to eat more healthily."

The unit surveyed 1,710 Singaporeans aged 15 years and above, from Aug 22 to 31, as part of its efforts to gauge the public's reactions to PM's speech.

  • SOME SURVEY FINDINGS

  • 85%

    Survey respondents who said it is acceptable to use data from sensor networks to counter terrorism.

    77%

    People who were optimistic that efforts to improve pre-school education would ensure all children have the best possible start in life.

    70%

    People who were mostly convinced that adopting technology would improve quality of life.

It said in a statement yesterday that reactions to the other two topics were also mostly positive, with 70 to 80 per cent believing that boosting pre-school education and adopting technology more widely would improve lives.

On the Smart Nation push, there was strong support for the use of technology to counter terrorism.

Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said it is "acceptable for the Government to use data from sensor networks to detect and counter terrorist threats".

The authorities have said that public transport video camera footage and data from the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system will be used for this purpose, along with footage from the police's closed-circuit television camera network.

But Reach acknowledged that some had raised concerns during dialogues and public feedback sessions that the elderly would be left behind in the Smart Nation drive.

Others worried that mass adoption of cashless payment systems could lead to overspending or security issues.

The feedback unit said some Singaporeans had a "very limited understanding of what Smart Nation entails", adding it was a sign that more public education is needed.

As for pre-school education, over three-quarters of respondents said they were optimistic that efforts to improve pre-school education would ensure children have the best start in life.

Among other initiatives, the Government has announced plans to increase the number of pre-school places by 40,000 over the next five years, and to set up a dedicated institute to train pre-school teachers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'Message on healthy living hits home'. Print Edition | Subscribe