NUS partners SportSG and HPB to promote healthy living on campus

08 September 2019 | General News
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The NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge, aimed at improving health and wellness through gamification, is the first initiative launched under the partnership

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is partnering  Sport Singapore (SportSG) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to encourage healthy and active lifestyles amongst the campus community. The NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge was also launched today as the first initiative under the partnership to commemorate Singapore Bicentennial, and to encourage NUS staff and students to adopt healthier habits through a  mix of games and incentives.

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The NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge, aimed at encouraging healthy and active lifestyles amongst the NUS community, was launched in partnership with Sport Singapore and the Health Promotion Board at RunNUS 2019 (Photo: Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth)

The NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge is a two-month long challenge where NUS staff and students can participate through the GameOn NILA! mobile application customised for NUS by SportSG. Participants can level up by clocking virtual and actual steps individually, as well as form teams to compete. Upon achieving certain milestones, players will be rewarded with ActiveSG MyCash through the ActiveWallet, which can be used to make purchases in the canteens and food courts within the Kent Ridge and Bukit Timah campuses.

The interface for NUS edition of GameOn NILA! will take on a more vibrant and youthful look to better engage with students. Exciting features will be rolled out in phases in the GameOn Nila! mobile application for NUS to sustain participation. Participants will be encouraged to explore the Kent Ridge and Bukit Timah campuses through different heritage and scenic trails to accumulate activity points and 20 mascots in exchange for incentives. Exciting team prizes will also be given out to top teams amongst both the staff and student communities to encourage greater social interaction through the challenge. Beyond the digital space, SportSG will also inject vibrancy into the campuses by organising sport clinics and fitness programmes for the NUS community.

At the launch, HPB’s Team More, Team Less healthy lifestyle activation reached out to participants and encouraged them to find a balance between eating right and getting physically active. Through interactive quizzes and activities, NUS students and staff were able to determine what their interests and motivations were in keeping healthy. Those who preferred to keep fit through exercise were placed in ‘Team More’, while those who preferred to eat right were on ‘Team Less’. Based on their assigned teams and profiles, they will be recommended to join HPB’s various healthy eating and physical activity programmes. 

NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “We are excited to partner SportSG and HPB on this journey towards a healthier and happier NUS campus. The NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge offers an engaging platform for the campus community to embark on a more active lifestyle, and encourages greater social interaction and integration through team participation. We are optimistic that this challenge, as well as the other activities that will be launched under this collaboration, will inculcate healthy living habits in our staff and students, hence allowing them to enjoy greater productivity in their work and studies.”

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu, was the Guest-of-Honour at the launch of the NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge. She said, “I am heartened that NUS is helping the campus community lead healthier and more active lifestyles, and partnering SportSG and HPB in the process. The initiative is a creative way to encourage individuals to take charge of their own health and fitness, and the Government is actively supporting corporates and organisations towards the goal of a healthy and active society.”

Beyond the NUS Bicentennial Challenge, HPB will also continue to encourage students to weave in healthy living habits as part of their everyday life. This includes HPB working with NUS to launch the Campus Challenge, an initiative under the National Steps Challenge programme, to engage the staff and students to stay physically active. The Challenge will also be supported with monthly thematic activities to sustain continued interest and keep participants motivated.

The NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge will take place from 8 September 2019 to 8 November 2019, and is open for participation by all NUS staff and students. More information on the NUS SG Bicentennial Challenge is available here: https://www.myactivesg.com/whats-on/event/2019/9/nus-sg-bicentennial-challenge.

The new partnership between NUS, SportSG and HPB is part of the ongoing efforts under the NUS Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI), which seeks to understand the lifestyles and habits of members within the NUS community, and implement strategies that could help improve their health and wellness. The NUS HCI task force comprises members from the academic, research, administrative clusters and our student groups. A Public Health Interest Group under the taskforce was formed by passionate students to champion for this cause and influence their peers towards healthier lifestyle through ground up initiatives.

The Healthy Campus Initiative is a joint action between the MOH Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT), a unit of the Ministry of Health (MOH), together with NUS and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The goal is to shape students’ attitudes, norms and values towards health so that they may be life-long health ambassadors when they graduate. The HCI intends to achieve this through strengthening a culture within tertiary institutions that values health, and creating a campus environment that makes healthy living accessible and supportive, where health is embedded in all university policies. Universities are a contained environment, presenting a unique opportunity to co-develop, test and measure the effects of health promoting initiatives with their academic expertise, research focus, and technology development insights.