SINGAPORE - In a bid to get Singaporeans to become healthier, the Government is making these seven moves to nudge them in the right direction, said the Ministry of Health on Tuesday (Aug 22).
1. Getting major drink companies to lower sugar content
Seven big names in the beverage industry - including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and F&N Foods - have agreed to cut sugar levels to 12 per cent for all their drinks by 2020. The other companies are Nestle, Pokka, Yeo Hiap Seng and Malaysia Dairy Industries. Together, they make up 70 per cent of the total pre-packaged sugar-sweetened beverage industry.
2. Labelling healthier dining options
The Healthier Dining Programme encourages food and beverage outlets to provide healthier options on their menus. These healthier meals are typically under 500 calories, and can be found in a variety of eateries, from restaurants to food courts and hawker centres. Some 26 million healthier meals have been sold as of March 2017.
3. Creating healthier ingredients
Food manufacturers can apply for grants to develop healthier ingredients - such as cooking oils or wholegrain staples - under the Healthier Ingredient Development Scheme. To date, six companies have had their applications approved. The Health Promotion Board aims to reach out to 20 to 30 ingredient suppliers by 2020.
4. Identifying better food
Foods that are considered healthier alternatives are marked with the red pyramid that is the Healthier Choice Symbol. The market share of these products has increased from 15 per cent in 2012 to 18 per cent in 2016.
5. Motivating people to exercise
Participants in the National Steps Challenge were given a step tracker and encouraged to walk up to 10,000 steps a day. Half a million people signed up for the first two seasons. A third edition of the challenge will start in October this year.
6. Encouraging people to go for health checks
From next month, nearly 2 million Singaporeans will be able to go for basic health screenings, for a fixed fee of $5 or less. The screenings are part of the enhanced Screen for Life programme. Those who are eligible will get invitation letters to notify them.
7. Helping diabetics stay healthy
General practitioners are being encouraged to form primary care networks to better care for their diabetic patients. As people with diabetes tend to develop kidney problems, MOH is also implementing a programme to track and lower kidney disease. If not managed properly, kidney disease can eventually lead to kidney failure.