Many years ago, Singapore government has foreseen the new generation would grow up on fast food, television and computer games in new era. So, in 1992, it started an anti-obesity plan, “Trim and Fit” (TAF), in schools to help overweight children to lose weight. The campaign has successfully reduced the proportion of overweight students from 14 percent in 1992 to 10 percent in year 2004 and subsequently to 9.5 percent in year 2006. However, the government has decided to end the program in year 2007.
Before reading the reason, let’s look at what exactly TAF program was.
Under the old “Trim and Fit” program:
- In addition to the regular physical education curriculum, overweight students had to do special exercises during breaks and before and after school until they lost a required amount of weight. These special group of students had to jog, did aerobics and worked out in gym.
- Some schools had their thin pupils wear colorful “I’m Trim and Fit” wristbands whereas their overweight friends are issued “calorie cash” which are food ration coupons with caloric values that they must not exceed when buying meals at the canteen.
- Schools were rewarded monetarily for devising other strategies to help fat kids to lose weight. Schools that failed to maintain the overweight student population to around 10 percent or less would have to face up to “consultation visits” by top ministry officials.
The key reason TAF is scrapped because of increasing criticism from parents of these overweight students. The parents found that this program has made their overweight kids being teased by their peers. Some of these students are embarrassed when they are segregated from their fitter counterparts.
With measures such as bans on chewing gum and public campaigns to leave toilets clean, Singapore has long been described as nanny country. While I applaud Singapore government has taken the initiative to ensure its new generations are healthy, it has probably underestimated kids’ feeling. Being in TAF program can make these kids to have low self confidence. Many may stop eating just for the sake of lose weight to get out from the group. I am glad that the government has stopped the program and plan for other better approach in handling overweight issues.
By the way, ironically, the reversal of TAF is FAT.
Category: Fitness News
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