Driving health message home on Orchard Road

Many programmes cater to those in the retail and food services sectors, where shift work is common and there are many mature workers.
Many programmes cater to those in the retail and food services sectors, where shift work is common and there are many mature workers.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

HPB, Orchard Road Business Association promote Work Great on a Great Street

It is not just all work and no play for the estimated 60,000 people who work in Orchard Road.

A health initiative started specifically for them has organised 160 activities and seen 8,000 taking part since it was launched last October, organisers said yesterday.

The Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) are organising activities from exercise sessions and cooking classes to wellness workshops for a year. Workers can also go for free health screenings provided by the Singapore Medical Specialists Centre at Paragon shopping mall.

"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.

Orba said many of the programmes are tailored primarily for those in the retail and food services sectors, which have a high prevalence of mature workers, and where shift work is common.

Said Orba chairman Mark Shaw: "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."

Inviting more people to join in, he added: "They have little excuse not to, as we have designed the activities to take place at their doorstep at a time when they are off work."

Mr Sim Beng Khoon, director of HPB's workplace health and outreach division, said Singaporeans tend to pack on the pounds after entering the workforce due to a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet, which raise the risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes.

"Collaboration with partners like Orba, therefore, enables 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," he added.

Orchard Road will go smoke-free from July 1, with smoking allowed only at designated areas.

Building technician Muhammad Ridhuan, 28, was among 200 corporate participants at the Orchard Road Photo Hunt event yesterday, which saw participants making pit stops to complete photo challenges, while clocking more steps.

Said Mr Ridhuan, who works irregular hours: "With my type of work schedule, I have no time to exercise. These activities can help us to keep healthy."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Driving health message home on Orchard Road'. Print Edition | Subscribe