Active Ageing, Healthy Districts


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29 July 2021

Framed around the effects of fast-paced change and related challenges on “live-work-play” trends, Active Health’s latest series of webinars feature key industry experts and thought leaders as they navigate trending topics to harness health and wellness in building a high performing individual. This webinar, part of a monthly series, focused on active ageing and healthy districts. The engaging fireside chat featured Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, Chief Scientist and Executive Director of the Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation.

During the session, Prof Tan emphasized that ageing does not inevitably lead to poor health and disability. Quoting a study that spanned over 190 countries, he explained that a 76-year-old individual in Singapore would share the same burdens of age-related disease as a 65-year-old global citizen, suggesting that Singapore has been on the right path in increasing the number of years in good health. To that extent, prevention is key and it is never too early or late to pre-emptively act against the onset of diseases.

The three major contributing tenets to death and ill-health are already well-publicized - diet, physical inactivity, and smoking. Prof Tan stressed the importance of embracing an active lifestyle, “Data shows that, for people who are very sedentary, they can gain a lot more just by increasing their physical activity. It is important for us to start with realistic goals; the key is to have regular and sustained exercise, and that is actually the hard(est) part.”One of the questions that came up during the session was about how seniors should manage and maintain social wellness while in isolation. To that, Prof Tan highlighted the strong relationship between physical activity and mental health. He suggested that seniors could take up a dispassionate activity that could keep them occupied and not be mulling over the past and/or reality and stressed the importance of staying connected, be it through community or family events/initiatives.When quizzed about the future of healthcare, Prof Tan spoke about how tech and digital advancements are reshaping the future of healthcare and that one could look forward to concepts like telehealth and precision health. He added that “A key part of future healthcare is prevention, and prevention can occur at different levels.”

Acknowledging the inherent difficulty in sustaining an active lifestyle, Prof Tan encouraged Singaporeans to start by being more active, citing examples such as taking the stairs or alighting a few bus stops earlier to walk, along with setting realistic goals. He also noted the importance of the environment and highlighted the need for communities to be made more conducive so as to encourage and ease the adoption of healthy habits. For example, while healthy eating habits are common messages we see, the actual step would be to make these healthier options more readily available, like encouraging food stall owners to use healthier ingredients.

Fireside Chat with Prof Tan Chorh Chuan and OneFM 91.3 DJ Angelique Teo


In Prof Tan’s words, “No matter how old, how many conditions you have, it’s never too late to do something about it”. It is recommended that individuals who are unsure how they should exercise or wish to understand their health, fitness, and wellness status consult the services of the Active Health Coaches who are allied health professionals at Active Health Labs located island-wide for preventive healthcare and exercise advisory. Designed to enable Singaporeans to live life to the fullest, Active Health is powered by sport science and principles from the Exercise is Medicine©, a global initiative by the American College of Sports Medicine, around the four health and wellness domains of physical activity, nutrition, sleep and screen time management.


Watch the Session Replay below:


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Topics: Physical Activity