SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry (MOH) will support a campaign to get Singaporeans to drink more plain water instead of sweet drinks during meals. This was among 28 recommendations made in a report by a citizen’s jury tasked with suggesting ways to fight diabetes.
The jury, made up of 76 Singaporeans from all walks of life, also recommended having cooking programme teaching healthier recipes, a platform to consolidate diabetes-related material as well as limiting advertisements on fast food and snacks.
The report was submitted to the Government in January. Among the 28 recommendations received, the ministry said on Saturday (Apr 14) it has accepted 14 of them and is exploring 13.
One suggestion on rating hawker stalls based on the nutritional level of food sold will not be supported for now. It will be difficult to implement, explained the ministry, as there are hawker stalls selling both healthy and unhealthy dishes.
Speaking at an appreciation event for the jury members, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor noted that many of the recommendations “resonated strongly” with the MOH’s priorities and plans.
One example was the suggestion to raise the Medisave withdrawal limit for those managing chronic diseases.
MOH had announced last month that the annual Medisave withdrawal limit for chronic diseases, vaccinations and health screenings will be increased from S$400 to S$500 each year from June this year.
The range of coverage will also be expanded to include lancets and test strips which are diabetes-related consumables.
Other recommendations accepted by MOH included getting celebrities to endorse and promote healthier foods, limiting the promotion on or shelf placement of “nutritionally poor” foods, as well as expanding the role of the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) to include clinical communication and chronic disease counselling in order to better help caregivers.
Encouraging the jury to step forward to champion the suggestions that have been endorsed, Dr Khor said: “All of us share the common goal of winning the war on diabetes and realising better health … let us continue to work together on the recommendations and keep each other updated on the progress.”