A programme that promotes preventive health in the community will be expanded to cover the entire eastern region under Sing- Health’s plan to complement the national Healthier SG initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also an MP for East Coast GRC, launched the Health Up! programme at Bedok Town Square on Saturday.

Under this programme, participating residents aged 40 and above in Changi, Simei, Siglap, Bedok and Chai Chee will receive personalised recommendations for chronic disease and cancer screenings, vaccinations, physical activities, diet and other lifestyle changes from SingHealth Wellbeing Coordinators.

Mr Heng said Health Up! was developed by SingHealth with Sport Singapore and the Health Promotion Board, and supports the national Healthier SG programme. It is Singapore’s preventive care strategy aimed at getting family doctors to help individuals take charge of their health.

The eastern region has about 1.5 million residents, and 770,000 are above 40 years old.

There are currently seven wellbeing coordinators who regularly check on participants, with plans to increase the number to 12 for the eastern part of Singapore, where the healthcare system is managed by SingHealth.

Dr Wee Moi Kim, SingHealth’s deputy director, health promotion and disease prevention, said these coordinators are newly hired and undergo training on the basic knowledge in chronic diseases, nutrition, types of exercises for different age groups, and even motivational techniques.

But participants might still face some challenges in going for health screenings, which are offered at subsidised rates at polyclinics.

Dr Wee said that apart from time constraints, people are afraid of the unknown, of contracting a disease, and are worried about treatment costs that might come after the screenings.

Health Up! was piloted in Tampines in November 2021, where 250 residents signed up.

The screening rates among these participants for chronic disease and cancer rates were between 60 per cent and 80 per cent, higher than the national level of 40 per cent to 65 per cent.

So far, more than 1,000 people have signed up for the programme.

Professor Lee Chien Earn, Sing- Health’s deputy group CEO, said that over three-quarters of participants in the Tampines pilot programme have reported being physically more active since joining Health Up!.

Mr Heng noted that four out of 10 residents in East Coast GRC are above 60 years old. This reflects Singapore’s rapidly ageing population, with more senior citizens than youth under the age of 19 by 2030.

He said: “This is why we must focus on extending our healthy lifespan, and making the silver years meaningful, joyful and memorable.”

Health Up! also involves organisations like the Agency for Integrated Care, Singapore Cancer Society and the National Library Board.

SingHealth said that so far, about 340 general practitioner (GP) clinics, or 90 per cent of GPs, in the eastern region have signed up for Healthier SG.

Prof Lee said: “Currently, our focus is on the age of more than 40. But over time, we hope we can also create programmes that are suitable for those who are younger, so they can also start on their healthier journey as early in life as possible.”