8,000 Orchard Road workers take up free health screenings, workout sessions

The Orchard Road Business Association and Health Promotion Board are offering workers free health screenings, exercise sessions, cooking classes and wellness workshops for a year.
The Orchard Road Business Association and Health Promotion Board are offering workers free health screenings, exercise sessions, cooking classes and wellness workshops for a year. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A health drive open to everyone who works on Orchard Road has benefited 8,000 people through 160 activities since it began last October, organisers said on Friday (March 23).

The Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) are offering free health screenings, exercise sessions, cooking classes and wellness workshops for a year to create a healthier workforce in the precinct.

Work Great on a Great Street is touted as the first precinct-wide health initiative and is being held in partnership with several landlords and tenants in Orchard Road.

"Many of the programmes are tailored primarily for employees in the retail and food services sector, which has a high prevalence of mature workers, and where employees usually work shift hours or have unstructured work patterns," Orba said.

Free health screenings will be offered to all who work along the shopping belt, through the Singapore Medical Specialists Centre at Paragon shopping mall.

Orba chairman Mark Shaw said: "Orba exists to champion the interests and welfare of businesses and stakeholders along Orchard Road, and helping our population keep fit and stay healthy is critical to our members' success.

"We call on everyone who works and lives on Orchard Road to join in the activities. They have little excuse not to, as we have designed the activities to take place at their doorsteps at a time when they are off work."

Mr Sim Beng Khoon, director for the HPB's workplace health and outreach, said Singaporeans tend to pack on the pounds after entering the workforce due to sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets, which increases the risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes.

"Collaboration with partners like Orba, therefore,enable us to extend our health promotion programmes to more workers within a well-connected precinct, building supportive environments for both physical health and mental well-being as well as a tobacco-free lifestyle."

Orchard Road will go smoke-free on July 1, with a ban on lighting up in public areas in the precinct, with the exception of designated smoking areas.