Bosses can help low-wage workers be healthier

It is heartening to note that the Government is paying more attention to the lower-income group, which makes up a greater percentage of those who work longer hours and lead an unhealthy lifestyle (Low-income groups to get targeted help for healthier lifestyles; Dec 17).

However, we have to first understand that the problems of longer working hours and unhealthy lifestyle are often not the fault of the workers, but can be attributed more to employers and working conditions that leave these employees with little choice.

It is a fact that lower-income jobs entail more physically demanding work, longer working hours and irregular work schedules that are beyond the control of workers.

This, unfortunately, also translates into less time for exercise, sleep deprivation and unhealthy food choices. Therefore, the push for a healthier lifestyle for lower-income workers has to come from employers who have to embrace such a goal in their workplaces before the workers can benefit.

To succeed in providing a healthy lifestyle for all citizens, healthier foods need to be more affordable than normal choices. The current trend of healthier food costing more has to be reversed before many, especially the lower-income, will willingly make the switch.

The ultimate goal should be to make healthy living affordable to all, irrespective of income, status or class.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'Bosses can help low-wage workers be healthier'. Print Edition | Subscribe