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National Steps ChallengeTM expands to include corporates in new season and targets to get 250,000 Singaporeans moving

New season of the world’s first population-level physical activity initiative returns with more activities, rewards and technological enhancements

Singapore, 1 October 2016 – Building on the success and scale of the National Steps ChallengeTM, Singapore’s first ever nation-wide steps movement, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) is launching the second season of the National Steps ChallengeTM. In the new season, the Challenge has been expanded to include a Corporate Challenge component, thematic challenges, and new technological features, to motivate even more Singaporeans to lead active lifestyles.

156,000 participants reached through Season One of the National Steps ChallengeTM

Almost 40 per cent of Singaporeans do not have sufficient physical activity. To encourage more Singaporeans to be physically active and reap the benefits of regular exercise, the world’s first population-level pedometer-based physical activity initiative, the National Steps ChallengeTM was launched last year.

Leveraging behavioural insights and technology to encourage participants to take more steps daily, the first season of the National Steps ChallengeTM proved successful in mobilising 156,000 people to move more. It also effectively increased the time spent on physical activity among participants who were previously sedentary.

Data showed that about four in five participants who were sedentary1 became active after joining the Challenge. On average, participants clocked about 1,500 more steps a day than adults who participated in a controlled group study conducted by HPB, and one in three participants recorded a high step count of 10,000 or more steps per day.

Studies have shown that even small increments in volume of activity are associated with improved health outcomes. For a sedentary adult, walking the recommended 7,500 to 10,000 steps daily can contribute to lower blood pressure2 and blood cholesterol levels3, and improved glucose control2. This will help to reduce the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

“Regular exercise is beneficial to our health. By making small changes in our daily routine, we can increase our physical activity and reap the benefits of exercise. I hope the National Steps Challenge can encourage more Singaporeans to exercise regularly and to exercise together with their friends and family,” said Minister of State for Communications & Information and Health Mr Chee Hong Tat.

Enhanced Season Two aims to reach 250,000 participants

To encourage more Singaporeans to become more physically active, HPB has ramped up its efforts by rolling out several new features for the second season of the Challenge.

I. Corporate Challenge

To reach out to working adults, the National Steps ChallengeTM will be extended to include a new Corporate Challenge, which calls for employees to compete in a nation-wide, inter-company challenge. In addition, the Corporate Challenge includes an optional intra-company challenge, which allows departments or teams within the same organisation to compete with one another. More information can be found in Annex A.

II. Thematic Challenges

To sustain continued interest and participant engagement, HPB will collaborate with other government agencies and commercial partners across different industries to introduce monthly thematic challenges designed to keep participants motivated. These include a wide range of recreational physical activity options for both young and old, such as walking trails, treasure hunts and other mini challenges that can be done with friends and family, or individually. More information can be found in Annex B.

III. New Technological Features

New technological features will be introduced in Season Two, making it even more accessible and convenient for Singaporeans to be physically active. Smartphone users who have successfully signed up for the National Steps ChallengeTM will have the option of participating via a larger variety of fitness wearables and different modes of steps tracking on the Healthy 365 mobile app. Apart from using the HPB-issued steps tracker, participants can also use other compatible trackers or fitness apps. More information can be found in Annex C.

IV. More reward tiers

Results from last year also showed that sure-win rewards were effective in encouraging physical activity and fostering healthy living habits amongst the participants. In fact, most participants in Season One strived for all three tiers of rewards offered, half of whom achieved the rewards within just three months. With this insight, HPB has expanded the tiers of sure-win rewards from three to six in Season Two of the Challenge, with increasing difficulty levels, making it more enticing and challenging for participants. This aims to help participants sustain their behaviour of incorporating physical activity into their lifestyles.

Commenting on the progress of the National Steps ChallengeTM, Mr Zee Yoong Kang, Chief Executive Officer of HPB, said: “The overwhelming response and support for this national initiative represents a huge milestone in HPB's efforts to make healthy living accessible for all Singaporeans and influence a nation-wide shift towards active lifestyles. Drawing on the learning points and public feedback last year, we have enhanced the design of the National Steps ChallengeTM with fresh activities, rewards and technological features to provide more incentives for Singaporeans to incorporate physical activity into their daily activities. We hope to reach 250,000 adult participants in Season Two and take bigger strides in creating a national culture of active living. We are very encouraged that 62,500 have already registered during the pre-launch sign up last month, including returned participants from Season One and workforce participants for the new Corporate Challenge.”