Brits adopt Health Promotion Board’s model

THE Health Promotion Board (HPB) in Singapore will be the model for a new office Britain is setting up to lead its efforts to improve and level up the public’s health.

Announcing the move on March 29, the country’s Department of Health and Social Care said: “This office and approach will be modelled on successful methods to this agenda internationally, such as in Singapore, which has a Health Promotion Board, and has pioneered new digital public health schemes such as their ‘National Steps Challenge’.”

HPB chief executive Zee Yoong Kang was heartened to see that Singapore’s efforts in boosting the health of people “are being seen as effective models” elsewhere.

“We have longstanding relations with our counterparts in Britain, and both sides have had many occasions to exchange experiences from the work we do and the learnings from the national-level programmes we run, ” he added.

HPB’s steps challenge has grown in popularity since its launch in 2015, climbing from an initial 156,000 sign-ups in the first year to more than 900,000 for the 2019/2020 challenge.

Success can also be measured by the increasing amount of exercise participants are devoting time to.

HPB said it had “observed that regular users have grown more active over time, recording an improvement of 35 minutes per week of physical activity, including low-intensity physical activity such walking at a leisurely pace”.

The steps challenge has been tweaked over the years, with the latest fitness trackers – which are free for participants – having a heart-rate monitoring function and sensors to nudge and remind participants to move more when they are sedentary for a long period of time.

Britain said its new health promotion office will address and tackle important public health issues, including obesity and nutrition, mental health across all ages, physical activity, sexual health, alcohol and tobacco. — The Straits Times/ANN

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