Extend holistic health programme to polytechnics
The Holistic Health Framework (HHF) was introduced in schools in 2008. It is meant for all students, and not only those who are overweight, and aims to generate more interest in a healthy lifestyle.
The Education Ministry’s initiatives to promote an active lifestyle do not stop at the secondary school level.
Sports and Wellness is a compulsory, credited module in the Institute of Technical Education that students must pass, while junior colleges still conduct physical education lessons.
In the polytechnics, there are elective sports modules and many co-curricular activities, but the only compulsory activity is the National Physical Fitness Award test in the final year
This is mainly to prepare male students for National Service and to determine their Physical Employment Status before enlistment.
The lack of health programmes and talks has led to an unhealthy cycle of attending class, having lunch from the many food stalls, staying back for projects and heading home, a daily routine students have come to accept.
Lesson time can last a few hours, and researchers have linked sitting for long periods with some health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Conditions include high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels and excess fat around the waist.
The worst thing is that students are unaware of these dangers.
I have also noticed a lack of stickers promoting a healthy diet, such as the logos “Ask for more vegetables” and “Ask for less gravy”.
Overweight students and even those in the acceptable weight range would benefit from the HHF, mentally and physically.
It should be implemented soon in the polytechnics, where the only thing I see increasing is the number of fast food outlets.