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SportSG's collaborations to strengthen the suite of offerings, with target to engage about 500,000 residents by 2027!
MOU Signing Ceremony between Sport Singapore and Healthcare Partners
22 June 2022 – By 2027, about 500,000 Singapore residents can have access to a health and wellness coach under Active Health, a nation-wide initiative by Sport Singapore (SportSG). Today, SportSG affirms its partnerships with key healthcare partners – Health Promotion Board (HPB), MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT), National Healthcare Group (NHG), National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP), National University Health System (NUHS), SingHealth, and Exercise is Medicine Singapore (EIMS) and to provide support and access to health and wellness programmes and services to Singapore residents.
In support of the Healthier SG vision, the collaborations will harness partners’ expertise and strengths to maximise outreach efforts and support Singaporeans’ journey towards a healthier self.
Since the inauguration of Active Health in 2017, this nationwide movement has seen participation numbers of over 320,000 across its various programmes such as:
- Fitness and Health Assessments in Active Health Labs, workshops and structured programmes for targeted demographics.
- Wellness Wednesdays was incepted during the Covid-19 pandemic to help public officers cope with work and home commitments amidst the work from home setting.
- Active Health play mat workshops featuring assessments to test balance, flexibility and muscular endurance and a game of sport and ladder that encourages intergenerational bonding.
- Active Health’s science-backed exercise programmes that provide avenues for education and engagement.
As Singapore emerges from the pandemic, the focus on holistic health and wellbeing is stronger than before. Taking a step further, Active Health aspires to engage about 500,000 Singapore residents by 2027 – a goal achievable through strong strategic partnerships.
“We launched Active Health five years ago to enable Singapore residents to take small steps to achieve impactful enhancements to their state of health and wellbeing. Since then, the team has made significant headway in curating exercise and sport science-backed Active Health workshops, health assessments and programmes for different population segments including working adults, older persons and the medically at-risk. Our partners have been instrumental towards the progress we have made and we are excited to further expand on this collaboration. We envision that we will collectively increase the accessibility of our offerings and their effectiveness towards the nation’s aspirations for a Healthier SG,” said Mr Lim Teck Yin, CEO, SportSG.
New Collaborations to Increase Adoption Rate for Targeted Populations
MOHT, Active Health’s newest partner, will drive various community initiatives and co-develop models to propel the adoption of active and healthy lifestyles by all. Starting with a precinct-based approach in Boon Lay, MOHT will work with government agencies and the community in targeted populations to test evidence-informed health promotion priorities with the goal to scale nationally. One such collaboration is the introduction of Active Health’s “Discovery Walk in the Park” programme in Boon Lay precinct. Health coaches will conduct guided walks for residents in the park that incorporates health tips, as well as short exercises at various stations. This is an opportunity for residents to keep fit while bonding with other nature enthusiasts. It is envisioned that after several walking trails, residents will be empowered and equipped with the knowledge and skills to organically organise and conduct similar walks for themselves and their neighbours, thereby creating a sustainable model.
The partnership with SportSG is part of MOHT’s two-pronged Healthy Precinct Framework that gathers the voices of residents for a better understanding of their motivations towards health-seeking and health adoption behaviours. The framework also adopts an approach to partner various government agencies to create conducive environments for physical activity, and socialisation. The idea is to embed “health-in-all-policies” to encourage the adoption of healthy habits.
Dr Loke Wai Chiong, Head, Integrated Health Promotion and Clinical Director, Programmes, MOHT said: “Social and environmental factors play a crucial role in ensuring good physical and mental health. Often, these are most meaningfully addressed by ground-up programmes co-created and run with motivated members of the community. MOHT is excited for this collaboration as it allows elements of health to be embedded in programmes that promote physical activities in the community.”
In the partnership with NUHS, Active Health will create more avenues for the community to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle – increasing longevity and social interaction. To further empower residents’ healthier lifestyle choices, Active Health and Active Masters programmes will also be introduced, including a dedicated referral programme for seniors and volunteer-led programmes in neighbourhoods. Under the Health District @ Queenstown pilot1, SportSG will work closely with NUHS to explore the co-development and implementation of programmes and interventions in Queenstown to help achieve the Health District’s goals of promoting healthy longevity, enabling purposeful longevity, promoting intergenerational bonding and enabling a community of all ages.
Mr Chua Song Khim, Deputy Chief Executive of NUHS said: “There is a lot of synergy between what we do at NUHS and SportSG. Our focus on building a healthy and engaged community complements SportSG’s Active Health initiative. We look forward to developing joint programmes with SportSG and our partners to keep residents active and healthy, and leveraging one another’s strengths to support the goal of Healthier SG."
Renewed Partnerships to Extend Reach
NHG has been close partners with SportSG, reaching out to the population within and beyond clinic walls. In a shared commitment to keep the population well and stem the metabolic tide, NHG collaborated with SportSG through shared referral programmes and resource sharing to address and combat common health issues within the community such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
NHG is also collaborating with SportSG to further strengthen linkages to primary care and the community. NHGP will work with Active Health Coaches to enable community-based health promotion programmes and care plans which activate patients for health. The parties are also jointly identifying and developing suitable technological innovations capable of enhancing the Active Health framework.
“NHG is excited to collaborate with SportSG to strengthen health promotion and active living for Singapore’s population. This is aligned with our River of Life framework to move upstream towards better population health, and MOH’s vision to build a Healthier SG. Through this partnership, we aim to co-create effective health programmes to empower our residents to take greater ownership of their health and well-being, and build healthier and happier communities,” said Dr Elaine Tan, Chief, Integrated Care (Clinical), NHG.
SingHealth and EIMS, similar to the other healthcare clusters, have been SportSG’s key partners since the inauguration of Active Health. Launched last November, Health Up! is a testament to the synergistic efforts between both parties. To date, more than 200 Tampines residents have learnt how to design their own fitness plans. Participants who have Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or obesity undergo a targeted programme where they learn how to exercise confidently and safely. Plans are underway to extend Health Up! to more residents in Tampines and other parts of Eastern Singapore.
The EIMS doctrine continues to be a key pillar in the Active Health’s training programme. Under the renewed partnership, all incoming Active Health coaches will undergo the rigorous training with EIMS to be able to support the community to implement exercise as part of the preventive health strategy.
“Our partnership with SportSG has enabled us to co-develop and deliver active living activities that are relevant to residents and patients at different stages of their lives, making it easier for them to keep well in the community. A good example is the Health Up! pilot where Tampines residents aged 40 and above receive a personalised health action plan with screening and lifestyle recommendations, and are connected to fitness activities by SportSG. We are learning from the pilot and looking to extend it to more residents in Tampines and other parts of Eastern Singapore. We are also excited by new areas of collaboration to promote active living among seniors, families with young children, and people with health risks such as obesity. These collaborations are key to building a Healthier SG as we enable our residents to keep well, get well and live well,” said Professor Lee Chien Earn, Deputy Group CEO (Regional Health System), SingHealth.
“Physical activity is integral to healthy living. The research underscoring the benefits of exercise is overwhelming. The challenge is to translate the research evidence into practice, by getting Singaporeans to be physically active. The requires an integrated approach between healthcare providers, like SingHealth, and other key stakeholders such as SportSG. Exercise is Medicine Singapore has the clinical framework to provide the training and pathways to assess and safely prescribe exercise, while SportSG has the extensive infrastructure to facilitate the prescribed exercise, making this partnership a natural fit,” said Dr Benedict Tan, Chairman, Exercise is Medicine Singapore.
SportSG and HPB, jointly developed and launched the refreshed Singapore Physical Activity Guidelines that detailed recommendations for different age groups and subpopulation segments such as pregnant and postpartum women and persons with disabilities. The guidelines, which focus on encouraging Singaporeans to reduce their sedentary behaviour and incorporate a variety of physical activity into their fitness regime, was well-received by the community. With this collaboration, both agencies will proactively engage strategic stakeholders such as policymakers and community leaders that play key roles in creating an ecosystem that supports and enables active living.
Mr Koh Peng Keng, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Health Promotion Board said, “Participation in physical activity brings about many health benefits. Helping Singaporeans adopt an active lifestyle is a mainstay of the Health Promotion Board’s overall national preventive health efforts. The renewed MOU between HPB and SportSG further strengthens our partnership in enabling Singaporeans to keep active and take steps towards better health, in line with Healthier SG. We look forward to our continued collaboration with SportSG to contribute to the Healthier SG ecosystem that makes attaining good health easier for our residents.”
Paving the Way Forward with Active Health
Within the next six months, Active Health will be initiating new programmes with the following partners:
- “Discovery Walk in the Park” with NHG for citizens aged 60 and above and the medically at- risk.
- “Discovery Walk in the Park” with MOHT and NUHS, targeted for the general population in Boon Lay and the west precincts.
- “LITE Programme” and “Kick Start Move Smart Programme” co-designed with SingHealth to support families with overweight children to implement positive changes in diet, physical activity and lifestyle habits
- First ever Active Health Fitness Trail to be featured in the Health District @ Queenstown
Beyond the above partnerships, public and stakeholders within the health and wellness ecosystem can look forward to new Active Health Labs in upcoming sport centres in Canberra, Delta and Punggol. Existing Active Health initiatives such as ‘Stronger at 40’ and ‘Combat Age-Related Loss of Muscle (CALM)’ for individuals aged 60 and above will also feature enhanced programming to better engage and empower participants.