New health programme for Tower Transit bus captains

SINGAPORE - Bus operator Tower Transit and the Health Promotion Board have launched a new workplace health programme to encourage bus captains to eat healthy food and to exercise.

Called the "Starting Right" programme, it is one of over 70 initiatives under the $3 billion Action Plan for Successful Ageing by the Ministry of Health.

The plan hopes to reach 120,000 workers across seven industries, who are above the age of 40, to inculcate in them healthy living habits.

Tower Transit's programme, which was started in January, includes a 'Walk for Health' pedometer challenge in which bus captains are issued with pedometers to track the number of steps they take over two weeks - top performers are rewarded with prizes such as supermarket vouchers.

All of Tower Transit's 700 bus captains will have to go through workshops, that teach them how to read nutritional labels and do special stretching exercises customised to address the aches and pains that come with spending long hours behind the wheel.

Since January, about 300 bus drivers have gone through the programme, said Tower Transit.

Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor visited the Bulim Bus Depot on Wednesday (March 9) and took part in a mass exercise session with about 60 bus captains.

"Under this programme, we hope to empower workers to take care of their health... Healthier workers mean happier and more productive workers," said Dr Khor.

Later she toured workshops and the canteen, which offers healthier food options such as brown rice and drinks with less sugar.

The programme's lessons are very practical, said bus captain Tay Hwee Yeow. "I used to think brown rice was hard and tasteless, but we were taught how to cook it so that it becomes soft and fluffy."