Health checks near home for heartlanders

PHOTO: Health checks near home for heartlanders

SINGAPORE - Singapore's first dedicated centre in the heartland to encourage individuals at risk of chronic diseases to keep tabs on their health was launched yesterday.

The Healthy Lifestyle Centre, run by health-care professionals from the Health Promotion Board (HPB), will offer free medical follow-ups from today. The twice-weekly sessions will be held at the Hong Kah North Zone 6 Residents' Committee (RC).

For instance, there will be dieticians and counsellors on hand to provide one-on-one consultation, health advice and assessments.

HPB's chief executive, Mr Ang Hak Seng, said: "The biggest challenge of health screening is lack of follow-up.

"Our survey has shown that 50 per cent of people who go for health screening did not go through for the follow-ups."

The service is expected to be expanded to five more RCs and community centres (CCs) in South West District by March next year. There are also plans to roll out the initiative islandwide.

At-risk individuals who are identified via health screenings or by general practitioners will be referred to the centre for follow-up.

About 200 out of the 3,000 Hong Kah North residents who underwent healthy- lifestyle programmes over the past year have been identified to be at risk of chronic conditions.

Residents found to be at risk of developing diabetes can seek help from Ms Gladis Lin, an HPB dietician who will be stationed at the Hong Kah centre.

Ms Lin told My Paper that dieticians are not commonly found in neighbourhoods, and, hopefully, the service will encourage more people to come forward.

Also present at the event was Dr Amy Khor, Minister of State for Health and Mayor of South West District.

She said that the centre is a step-up to the health promotion RCs and CCs started last year, which is run by volunteer health ambassadors.

These ambassadors have been trained by HPB to provide simple health advice and conduct basic health screening, such as taking blood pressure.

Dr Khor said: "The prevalence of chronic diseases like diabetes is pretty high in Singapore and obesity is also increasing.

"It's important to... encourage Singaporeans to adopt healthy lifestyles, to prevent and delay the onset of chronic diseases."

Get a copy of Mind Your Body, The Straits Times or go to for more stories.