Good morning, everyone. It is so good to see all of you here. I know we have been meeting each other quite a lot for the Chinese New Year celebrations. I feel that it is so important for us to continue to keep healthy during this period. I am so glad that we are continuing to take part in brisk walking, which has been going on for a year here. This is very important because we have to continue to keep active, not just physically, but it helps you also with your mental health.
2. Today is very special. I have a lot of friends here with me from the Health Promotion Board (HPB). I am so grateful to them, because today I have some meaningful things I want to tell you that are coming our way. It is very important because we all want to tell you to keep healthy. When you look around, you will see there are panels to inform you about some changes we are going to make.
3. The key thing is that when we do all our activities, we need to know what the standard is. Recently, SportSG and HPB have come together to come up with the Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines to tell you clearly what will be good for you. The guideline is, for adults, including seniors, you should have at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) every week. Similar to what we did just now, we have to get our heart rate up with these more intensive activities that will achieve the requirement.
4. We know that people have been asking to get more activities going to help residents keep healthy. I am happy to announce that we will create more physical activities for people in the community. I have been talking about Healthier SG a few times – it is not just a symbol; we have to really participate in and take up the activities. Towards that goal as we implement it in the months to come, we also want to encourage people to achieve MVPA.
5. We are creating a lot more activities. HPB will be increasing its capacity by more than 50%. In the past, we had about 31,000 participants and we are going to increase it to accommodate 47,000 participants. What this means is that there will be a lot more activities in the community for you. We will be working with People’s Association (PA) and community partners in spaces such as our senior activity centres, to make sure that there are a lot of activities available for you in the community. We hope you can participate, and really try and achieve it.
6. The next thing is that we are also making some changes to the National Steps Challenge (NSC). Many of you are already participating and are active on it. For new participants, we still want to encourage them to do the activities. If they meet the 5,000 steps milestone, they will still get the healthpoints. But we are going to change the NSC a bit to nudge people to do more MVPA. The criteria will change before you get the healthpoints.
7. Although the NSC is very important to bring people to move from their sedentary lives to keep active, it is also important to keep improving. If you do not improve, you cannot get more benefits. Of course, if you walk, you will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes or heart diseases and such. If you do a little bit more, gradually, you will also have more health benefits.
8. One benchmark now is the 150 minutes of MVPA per week. That is very important. The guidelines also tell you about all the different types of physical activities recommended for you, such as the duration, type, intensity and frequency of physical activities.
9. More resources will be channelled to provide opportunities for people to keep healthy. I hope all of you will also join us in this effort so that we can all continue to keep healthy. I wish you all the best of health. Thank you.