By incorporating health education in the curriculum in primary schools, the Ministry of Education has done a commendable job in providing young pupils with insights into important health topics and enabling them to keep themselves healthy and safe.
However, pupils lack knowledge of the risk factors of many preventable diseases.
For instance, they do not learn much about how chronic exposure to ultraviolet light can result in the premature ageing of the skin, many types of skin cancers and numerous eye conditions.
Cigarette smoking can cause lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, while inhaling second-hand smoke can exacerbate respiratory problems such as asthma.
Unhealthy dietary habits can lead to obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
As the ill effects of these risk factors accumulate over long periods of time, there is a pressing need to teach children about them from an early age, so that they can cultivate good lifestyle habits from a young age.
Benjamin Teo Hao Kang, 15,
Secondary 3 student