Good progress has been made by various agencies, schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) in implementing the NurtureSG recommendations, which aim to enhance the health outcomes among our children and youth in the key areas of physical activity and nutrition, mental well-being, and sleep health.
2. Co-led by Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Lam Pin Min and Senior Minister of State for Education Dr Janil Puthucheary, NurtureSG aims to foster healthy behaviours in our young, by equipping them with the necessary skills and creating a conducive environment for them to embrace healthy living. Since the NurtureSG Taskforce submitted its suite of recommendations to the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Education (MOE) in mid-February 2017, the recommendations have been progressively rolled out across pre-schools, schools, IHLs and the community.
3. The NurtureSG Taskforce has also released the NurtureSG Action Plan, as a roadmap to build strong minds, strong bodies, and strong hearts in our next generation. A mini booklet on five ‘habit hacks’ for a healthier child is now available to all parents and caregivers.
Physical Activity and Nutrition
4. Lifestyle habits are often formed from young and are carried into adulthood. To enable the formation of good habits for active living, some schools have started to provide even more opportunities for physical activity by increasing accessibility to sports equipment and facilities beyond formal curriculum hours. For example, students at Fernvale Primary School and Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Primary) can take part in physical activities and sports during recess. In the IHLs, Train-The-Trainer programmes - where students participate in workout sessions conducted by student instructors - are available. Moreover, the very first KpopX Fitness and Zumba sessions in Republic Polytechnic had started in June 2017. ActiveSG is also working with their clubs and academies encourage children to take part in sports and physical activity outside of school.
5. Within the community, between January and April this year, over 2,200 parents and children had participated in the Health Promotion Board (HPB)’s pilot Active & Healthy Weekends programme which comprises fitness and family-themed activities at community sites.
6. To ensure that children receive nutritious, balanced and varied meals, all mainstream schools now implement the Healthy Meals in School Programme (HMSP) by HPB.
7. Mental well-being is important in enabling our youth to manage stress and lead meaningful lives. MOE and HPB are progressively setting up and strengthening peer support programmes in mainstream schools and IHLs. Training courses to equip schools and student peer supporters to look out for signs of mental stress among their peers have started, and will be conducted in phases over the next two years.
8. By the end of this year, HPB will also move upstream and start to train and equip pre-school educators to manage pre-school students’ transition to primary school. In addition, Tote Board is reaching out to partners to develop upstream programmes that foster greater mental resilience in our young. The Tote Board has committed funding to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) to build the capacity of service providers in undertaking programme evaluation and implementation research. Separately, the National Youth Work Competency Framework (NYWCF) was officially launched on 12 July 2017 and a training roadmap will be developed to include relevant mental health courses for youth workers. Implementation plans are also being drawn up to include mental health assessment in the Enhanced STEP-UP (ESU) programme service delivery model.
9. The Inter-Agency Research Workgroup on Youth Suicides, led by Associate Professor Dr Daniel Fung, Chairman, Medical Board, IMH, has been formed and started their work.
10. To raise awareness and educate parents on the importance of adequate and quality sleep in children, HPB has set up a microsite (www.goodsleep.sg) which provides information on the importance of adequate sleep, recommended sleep duration as well as signs of insufficient sleep. Besides detailing sleep health recommendations, the microsite also provides tips on inculcating healthy sleep habits.
11. In addition, MOE will incorporate messages on sleep health and good sleep practices into the Physical Education curriculum.
Launch of NurtureSG Action Plan Report and Mini Booklet
12. The comprehensive suite of recommendations made by the NurtureSG Taskforce has been consolidated into the NurtureSG Action Plan. The Action Plan provides an overview of the current health landscape of our children and youth, and shares key findings from the public consultation conducted from April to June 2016.
13. Recognising the crucial role of parents and caregivers in inculcating and sustaining good health habits in our young, the Taskforce has provided five ‘habit hacks’ for a healthier child in a mini booklet, to educate and empower parents with the necessary knowledge and skills to make better decisions for their children, and to enable their children to take personal ownership of their health and make better choices. The NurtureSG Action Plan and mini booklet can be found at www.moh.gov.sg/nurtureSG.