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Singapore Stopped Anti-Obesity Plan In Schools after 15 Years

November 22nd, 2007 · 3 Comments ·


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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3 responses so far ↓
  • ShadowFox // Nov 22, 2007 at 12:30 AM

    I think it would be double-standard if Singapore does not also get rid of their school stream segregation which is also elitist in nature.

    If they’re not gonna stop that one, why stop the trim and fit program ?

    Anyway, I would opt to turn the program into a reward/incentive based approach instead of scraping altogether.

    Rewarding students to lose weight is a much more better approach than forcing them into the program.

    Come on Singa-bloody-pore, where’s the bloody creativity ?

  • Angie Tan // Nov 22, 2007 at 7:28 PM


    The program was good but why just target the overweight kids? All kids need to be taught the value of good nutrition and exercise.

    Anyway, they certainly ruled out the psychological impact towards the fat kids’ self esteem and confidence level.

    I’ve been a fat kid all my life and I’ve also faced the ridicule and bullying from my peers. Of course, I was a lot stronger and showed how tough I was and a lot of people backed down from that.

    At the gym, the instructors are very supportive and they try to understand the difficulties for people who are overweight and trying to lose it.

    Perhaps that is what these people lack, an understanding heart. But that’s to be expected from the little island.. ;-)

  • T+1 // Nov 24, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    “By the way, ironically, the reversal of TAF is FAT.”
    this is funny… just dunno it is pure coincidence or on purpose :D

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