NurtureSG: Concern over kids' fitness

How do you make children eat right and keep fit?

They are the biggest concerns among parents, teachers and students - according to a government task force that aims to help Singaporeans start living healthy from a young age.

The NurtureSG task force learnt this during an eight-week consultation exercise involving more than 900 people between April and June this year.

Participants also highlighted the importance of building mental resilience, and raised concerns about students' lack of sleep.

Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min announced the findings during a visit to a childcare centre in Sengkang East yesterday.

While many schools and higher education institutes have been encouraging students to lead healthy lifestyles, Dr Lam said there is still room for improvement.

"We want to debunk the myth that eating healthily costs more," he said. "For example, it's not just about eating brown rice or wholemeal bread - it's about portioning... having a healthy, balanced diet, and about food preparation."

Dr Lam co-chairs the NurtureSG task force with Minister of State (Education and Communications & Information) Janil Puthucheary, who also attended yesterday's event.

The task force's mandate was laid out during the Ministry of Health's Committee of Supply debate earlier this year, after Health Minister Gan Kim Yong stressed the importance of fighting the growing problem of diabetes.

There are an estimated 400,000 diabetics in Singapore, a third of whom do not even know they have the disease.

At yesterday's event, Dr Puthucheary said young people can also learn to be more resilient.

"It's not just about grades. Resilience is about all kinds of things...sports, your relationships, family dynamics."

The next step for the task force is to develop a set of recommendations for the NurtureSG Action Plan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'NurtureSG: Concern over kids' fitness'. Print Edition | Subscribe