Healthier SG to make it easier for residents to maintain healthier lifestyles: Rahayu

With Healthier SG, family doctors will guide residents in managing their health holistically, including recommending health activities and services in the community. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Madam Anna, 60, is overweight and has high blood pressure and pre-diabetes. When she enrols in the Healthier SG programme, her family doctor advises her to sign up for Live Well, Age Well, a wellness programme for seniors, so she can stay active and pick up nutrition tips to avert diabetes.

The Jurong resident uses the Healthy 365 app to sign up for the wellness initiative with a friend, and she is automatically signed up for health challenges that help her earn points to exchange for vouchers.

The app allows her to monitor her calorie intake by logging her meals, and it also reminds her to clock more steps and participate in more moderate to vigorous physical activities.

Six months later, at her next Healthier SG consultation, she has lost 2kg, and her blood pressure is under control. Her doctor may consider reducing her regular medication at her next appointment if she sustains her healthy lifestyle and manages her chronic condition well.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam painted this scenario using this fictional character when she spoke in Parliament during the debate on the White Paper on Healthier SG to demonstrate how the programme would make it easier for residents to start and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Ms Rahayu also shared examples of real-life success stories of people who tapped existing health initiatives, which the Healthier SG programme will also bring together.

One of them is Mr Louis Loh, 84, who was diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago. He began brisk walking every day after joining the National Steps Challenge in 2018, and lost 10kg in the last three years.

With Healthier SG, family doctors will guide residents in managing their health holistically, said Ms Rahayu. "Your doctor can also recommend existing health-related activities and services in your community that will be suitable for you."

She also summarised efforts under the programme with the acronym HEALTH - H for harnessing existing health initiatives, E for enhanced suite of health programmes, A for active collaboration with community partners, L for looking out for caregivers, T for tracking health activities via technology, and H for health-related lifestyle nudges.

To enhance the existing suite of health programmes, health authorities will collate community partners' programmes and house them on the Healthy 365 app over time, said Ms Rahayu. This will cover a range including self-directed programmes, targeted weight management interventions for residents with well-controlled chronic disease, and practical nutrition workshops.

Healthy 365 will be enhanced to deliver more personalised nudges, such as recommending suitable lifestyle activities, achievement of health goals, and improving adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviours, said Ms Rahayu, adding that the Government will explore collaborations with private companies that have expertise in nudging health behaviour change.

"While we may interact with our family doctors once every six to 12 months and participate in community activities a couple of times a week, personalised recommendations and nudges delivered via digital technology can be a constant support to help us stay engaged on our healthy journeys."

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