War on diabetes: An inside look

Getting kids to toe the line on healthy habits early

Pupils at the PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots Preschool in Ang Mo Kio participating in an outdoor physical activity. It is among the growing number of pre-schools accredited as a "healthy pre-school".
Pupils at the PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots Preschool in Ang Mo Kio participating in an outdoor physical activity. It is among the growing number of pre-schools accredited as a "healthy pre-school".ST PHOTO: ALVIN HO

With a bean bag on their heads, children put their balancing skills to the test during an outdoor physical activity at the PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots Preschool in Ang Mo Kio.

It is among 1,145 pre-schools that are accredited as a "healthy pre-school" by the Health Promotion Board (HPB). This means that it has to provide at least one hour of physical activity daily, with half an hour spent outdoors.

There is a rising number of pre-schools under HPB's Healthy Pre-Schools Accreditation Framework.

In 2015, only 11 per cent of pre-schools were accredited.

The figure has jumped to 62 per cent of the 1,850 pre-schools here, said Mr Alex Fun, director of HPB's school health and outreach division.

Other criteria for the scheme include serving healthier meals, such as sandwiches made with wholemeal bread, while overly sugary drinks like syrups are not allowed.

 
 

Overweight kids are more likely to grow into obese adults and develop serious ailments like Type 2 diabetes, which is why it is important to teach healthy habits to children - the younger, the better.

While schools ramp up efforts to instil healthy habits, parents also have a role to play to continue these healthy habits at home, say experts.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2018, with the headline 'Getting kids to toe the line on healthy habits early'. Print Edition | Subscribe