HPB launches Singapore's first national-level weight management scheme

SINGAPORE - The Health Promotion Board (HPB) today officially launched the One Million KG Challenge to nudge and incentivise Singapore residents to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

HPB noted that both globally and in Singapore, the prevalence of obesity in adults has been increasing steadily over the years. Singapore's obesity prevalence has increased by 0.7 percentage point a year since 2004 to reach nearly 11 per cent in 2010 - only one percentage point lower than the global average obesity prevalence of 12 per cent.

The National Health Survey 2010 showed that 1.7 million Singaporeans with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23 or greater are vulnerable to developing obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases.

The aim of the new initiative is to support Singapore residents to collectively lose one million kilogrammes by 2016. 

The challenge is open to participants who are aged 18 to 64, who have a BMI that falls within the range of 18.5 to 37.4.

Those with a BMI within the low risk range of 18.5 to 22.9 can participate in the challenge to maintain their weight. Those with a BMI within the moderate risk range of 23 to 37.4 can sign up and pledge to lose 3kg in the challenge.

Those with a BMI of below 18.5 are not be eligible to participate in the challenge.

'Pixels' will be awarded during the process. These will be given out when participants complete certain steps.

One pixel can be used to unlock one prize and pixels called "golden tickets" award participants a chance to participate in a grand lucky draw to be held in October. Prizes up for grabs include a car, a holiday package and shopping vouchers.

Chief Executive Officer of HPB Zee Yoong Kang said: "The One Million KG Challenge represents HPB's first foray into using behavioural economics to encourage Singaporeans to achieve a healthy weight.

"Linking incentives directly to the desired outcome of losing excess weight has been shown through research to be an effective mechanism to support individuals to make small but achievable changes to their behaviour and lose excess weight for the long-term."

The One Million KG Challenge is Singapore's first national-level weight management initiative. The first phase of the challenge was introduced in January this year, and saw 18 companies and more than 10,000 individuals sign up for the challenge.

Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor said: "Obesity is a major contributing factor to chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart diseases, and stroke, which can affect our quality of life and lead to significant morbidity and mortality.

"Therefore, it is urgent we curb the rising trend in obesity and heighten awareness on the importance of long-term healthy weight management."

The challenge will run over two years and to help participants achieve a healthy weight, free health and nutrition advice, exercise videos, exercise plans, as well as weight loss tools and trackers will be provided.

For more information, visit www.millionkg.com.

yamadak@sph.com.sg

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