Labels in supermarkets to guide the Healthy Shopper

Labels in supermarkets to guide the Healthy Shopper

Photo above: Children flying kites at the Gardens by the Bay Supertree Grove at the launch of the 20th National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign.

SINGAPORE - Four supermarket chains will soon identify the healthier foods they sell with the Healthy Shopper logo to encourage consumers to buy more of them.

They will also provide nutritional information on these items in four categories: fruit and vegetables; lean meats and alternatives like poultry, fish and seafood; whole grains; and healthier oils and sauces.

The Health Promotion Board initiated the programme because people "are not meeting the dietary recommendations for certain foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains, while they are exceeding recommendations for certain nutrients such as energy, fat, saturated fat and salt".

The participating chains are Cold Storage, Giant, NTUC FairPrice and Sheng Siong. They will include these good foods as part of their weekly promotions.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who launched the 20th National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign at Gardens by the Bay yesterday, was shown two other programmes to help Singaporeans stay fit.

One is the Healthy Lifestyle Index, which aims to give people access to their own virtual healthy lifestyle personal coach. A series of 10 online questions gives them an idea of how healthy they are compared to the norm here.

This is followed up by an e-mail with personalised encouragement such as: "You're making an effort to include fruit and vegetables in your diet, try eating two portions of it. This is less than the eight servings recommended by the American Heart Association."

The other new item is the healthyMEtv, a digital channel with short video clips and health tips "to strengthen health literacy in Singapore", said the HPB.

Praising the HPB's efforts over the past two decades, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said they show "our Government's seriousness in creating a healthy nation".

According to the HPB's report book, people here are generally doing well.

More people are exercising, with 60 per cent doing the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week. This is a far rosier picture than that painted by the National Health Survey 2010, which found that only 19 per cent of adults aged 18 to 69 exercised regularly.

The HPB also says the 11 per cent obesity rate here is lower than the 34 per cent in the United States and the 25 per cent in Australia.

The proportion of people who smoke daily has gone down from 18 per cent in 1992 to 14 per cent by 2010, while four in five people check their blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly.

The consumption of food with the Healthier Choice symbol has gone up from 29 per cent in 2002 to 49 per cent by 2009. Foods with this symbol might not always be good for health, such as soya sauce, but are healthier than other similar products.

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