Work healthy plans into our jobs

AS SOMEONE who has lost three people close to me to cancer and who knows many cancer survivors, I was glad to see Sunday's report ("Sharp rise in number diagnosed with cancer") and hope it will educate us on this disease.

I hope more can be done to provide cheaper health screening to encourage Singaporeans to go for checks regularly.

A friend of mine cannot afford to pay for health screening, as priority goes to her elderly mother who needs the help of a maid, which inflates her costs.

Families of cancer survivors also face high medical costs as they need to pay for medication to sustain their health.

The stress levels are high if the family is not financially stable.

We may have to make changes in our jobs too, in order to change our lifestyles. Often, it is the busy mind at work that prevents us from unplugging ourselves and going out to exercise.

A good strategy would be to work healthy plans into our jobs.

For instance, I once proposed that my company let staff off work one hour early every Tuesday, so that we could all go for a run in Bedok Reservoir Park.

The plan was approved. Unfortunately, it fizzled out after just two weeks, after everyone said they were too busy.

Employers have to initiate and support such programmes, integrate them with work and make them compulsory.

After all, whatever we pursue to better our wealth and provide a better life for our families, it all starts with having good health.

Mary Chan Pheck Li (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'Work healthy plans into our jobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe