156,000 stepping up to a healthier lifestyle

Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat (in red) joining students for an aerobics warm-up during the official launch of Rep With Steps held in Woodgrove Secondary School last Friday.
Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat (in red) joining students for an aerobics warm-up during the official launch of Rep With Steps held in Woodgrove Secondary School last Friday.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

National Steps Challenge, the first nationwide steps movement in Singapore, has been taken up by more than 156,000 participants. Started by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) last November, the challenge encourages participants to sit less and move more.

These figures were announced at the official launch of Rep With Steps, an extension of the National Steps Challenge in schools. A total of 27 secondary schools and junior colleges are taking part in the competition, and the eight schools with the highest daily average number of steps achieved per student will be rewarded with cash prizes.

Speaking at the official Rep With Steps launch event held in Woodgrove Secondary School last Friday, guest of honour and Minister of State for Health Chee Hong Tat encouraged students to look beyond the competition and develop active habits that they can include in their daily lives.

Most of the National Steps Challenge participants are Singapore residents aged 19 and above. Those who registered during the period from October to November entered the challenge for free, while those who registered later paid a sign-up fee of $5 for Singaporeans and PRs, and $20 for foreigners.

Participants earn points based on the number of steps they take each day, and can use the points to redeem a variety of sure-win rewards worth $30 or more, such as shopping and grocery vouchers.

Through the use of a pedometer and HPB's Healthy 365 mobile application, participants are able to track their step count on a daily basis. The challenge leverages on behavioural insights and technology, nudging participants to take more steps daily as they become more aware of their daily step count.

Excited with the takeup rate of the challenge thus far, HPB chief executive officer Zee Yoong Kang said the HPB is looking into ways for the campaign to reach out to even more people. He aims for every secondary school to be involved in the movement.

Registration for the challenge's current season, which ends in May, has closed. HPB is firming up plans for the launch of the National Steps Challenge Season 2.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2016, with the headline '156,000 stepping up to a healthier lifestyle'. Print Edition | Subscribe