Healthy habits that start from young are likely to be carried into adulthood.
This is a key idea behind Sengkang Health’s Millennia Kids Programme. It was started in 2014 to get primary schoolchildren to build the foundations of healthy living through hands-on activities, talks and a dose of competitive fun.
The hope is that they will create a “multiplier effect” by influencing their families and friends to take up healthy habits, said Ms Cecilia Pang, director of communications & service quality at Sengkang Health, a public healthcare group that will run Sengkang General Hospital when it opens next year.
She said: “It is designed to help children live, learn and lead a healthy lifestyle from an early age, while influencing their families and the community to do the same.”
The programme has reached 6,500 upper-primary schoolchildren in three schools – Compassvale Primary, Sengkang Primary and Fernvale Primary.
The pupils take part in talks and workshops on nutrition, sports safety, stress management, antismoking messages, listening skills and fall prevention. These are usually held during school assembly.
Pupils also take part in a “task card” activity, where they complete a series of tasks in various categories, such as healthy eating and positive thinking.
“Their progress is logged in an activity book and incentives are given,” said Ms Pang. “For every task completed, they are awarded varying numbers of stars.”
The stars collected go towards earning annual badges to help spur them on till the end of the three year programme.
A carnival is also held during the school holidays to encourage family bonding.
At the Millennia Kids Challenge, the pupils are joined by their families and friends for lifestyle activities such as an “obstacle course” featuring games to improve their speed and coordination, said Ms Pang.
The Millennia Kids Programme has received funding from the Tote Board for a three-year period. So far, results have been heartening.
In a survey done with parents, a majority indicated a greater awareness of healthier lifestyles. Six more schools have come on board this year, said Ms Pang.