Forum: Add reward, incentive element in healthy living push

Giving Singaporeans aged 65 and above free entry into public gyms and swimming pools is a good move by the Government (Keep free entry to gyms, pools for seniors to off-peak hours, by Mr Nigel Marcus Ong Chin Hock, March 14).

Other than fine-tuning details on peak and non-peak hours of entry, the Government should consider adding some kind of incentives to make the policy more comprehensive and results-oriented.

The aim should not only be to encourage younger Singaporeans to have healthy lifestyles during their prime, but also to have something for them to look forward to by keeping fit and not being couch potatoes.

Equally important is that a healthy populace will mean less of a demand and strain on the nation's medical facilities.

Instead of allocating funds to build one public hospital after another, it is far better and less costly to build and maintain facilities to encourage healthy lifestyles that will translate into better productivity and even a bigger gross domestic product.

On the flip side, Singaporeans who have not paid attention to what they consume and how they live before reaching age 65, will not gain much from the free entry into public gyms and pools.

By then, some may not be able to enjoy the concession as they are already in poor health.

The incentive element is more vital to spur Singaporeans to be responsible, live well and stay healthy for their own good and for their families.

Between the two, free-entry concession versus incentive, the latter aspect has both the prevention and reward features.

Tan Kok Tim

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