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Health Promotion Board Introduces My Healthy Plate to Inculcate Healthy Eating Habits amongst Singaporeans

My Healthy Plate replaces Healthy Diet Pyramid to improve dietary quality

Singapore, 11 July 2014 – In support of its game-changing Food Strategy to encourage healthy eating habits in Singaporeans, Health Promotion Board (HPB) launches My Healthy Plate today as a simple and educational visual tool designed specifically for Singaporeans to guide them on planning a healthy meal when they dine in and out of home. HPB will replace the Healthy Diet Pyramid with My Healthy Plate across all of its collaterals by end of 2014, starting with a larger-than-life My Healthy Plate exhibit at HPB’s revamped HealthZone.

Inculcating Healthy Eating Habits for all Singaporeans

Statistics from the Student Health Survey 2012 show that 80 percent of students aged 13 to 18 years do not meet recommendations for both fruit and vegetables. In addition, more than 50 percent of students do not limit the intake of deep fried products, while 25 percent of students drink more than one sweetened drink daily.

The National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2010 indicates that up to 85 percent of Singaporean adults fall short of the recommended intake of fruit and vegetables. In addition, adult Singaporeans are over-consuming unhealthy refined carbohydrates and whilst healthy wholegrain consumption is on the rise, it is still well below recommendations. Currently, 60 percent of Singaporeans consume two or more sweetened drinks a day.

An unhealthy diet is one of the major risk factors that contribute to the development of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer, which are the leading cause of disability and premature deaths globally. The National Health Survey 2010 shows that about one in every nine Singaporeans aged 18-69 years is obese (Body Mass Index ≥30 kg/m2), a 57% increase from the previous survey in 2004. This is a concern as obesity increases the likelihood of the development of chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

My Healthy Plate

To address unhealthy diet habits and associated health concerns, HPB is introducing My Healthy Plate to better communicate healthy eating habits to Singaporeans.

Associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary for Health said, “In support of HPB’s Food Strategy, My Healthy Plate is a friendly and easy-to- understand visual tool to improve our diet quality while reminding us to choose water over sugar-sweetened drinks, and to be active. This latest effort will form a significant contribution to inculcate healthy eating habits and make ‘Healthy Living Every Day’ simple for all.”

Replacing the Healthy Diet Pyramid Model

Based on a recent HPB study, it was found that Singaporeans prefer a simple, plate- based image that conveys clear messages about a healthy diet. To help Singaporeans remember and practise healthy habits, HPB designed My Healthy Plate to provide a simple visual representation of what a healthy meal may look like.

In comparison to the Healthy Diet Pyramid, My Healthy Plate emphasises the healthy habits of:

  • Filling half your plate with Fruit and Vegetables
  • Fill a quarter of your plate with Whole-grains
  • Fill a quarter of your plate with Meat & Others
  • Use healthier oils
  • Choose water
  • Be active
By using My Healthy Plate, Singaporeans are reminded to adopt healthy eating habits such as choosing water over sweetened beverages which are a source of empty calories or, in other words, calories with little nutritive value. Emerging evidence shows that a moderate amount of fat in the diet is beneficial for health, in particular unsaturated fat. My Healthy Plate focuses on emphasising the quality of fat consumed. Singaporeans are encouraged to choose foods prepared with healthier oils such as peanut oil, corn oil that are lower in saturated fat and trans fat. On top of achieving a wholesome diet, My Healthy Plate also advocates integrating physical activity to complete a healthy lifestyle.

My Healthy Plate serves as a motivational rather than prescriptive tool for Singaporeans to build balanced meals. Instead of defining a certain number of calories or servings per day from each food group, My Healthy Plate emphasises the quality of diet at each meal. Singaporeans can follow the important principles from My Healthy Plate and customise them according to their own lifestyle and eating patterns.