Nutrition And Lifestyle

To realize his or her genetic growth potential, a child must be in good health and have sufficient nutrition, adequate good quality sleep, and be physically active.1


Dietary diversity is an important component of childhood nutrition. Eating a variety of foods from different food groups enables adequate consumption of nutrients required for healthy growth.35

A healthy and well-balanced diet should include all the major food groups in the right proportion. The My Healthy Plate (Figure4) is a simple method you can use to put together a balanced meal for your child.36

Use healthy cooking oils (such as canola, olive, soy, sunflower, and peanut oil) when preparing meals at home and serve water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks for a healthier choice.36
Figure 4. My Healthy Plate
Health Promotion Board My Healthy Plate 2021 [36]
Use a 10-inch plate and don’t heap the food!
How much food should your child eat? The actual portion size or amount of different foods you should put on the plate varies for children of different age and the amount of energy they need to fuel their daily activities.


Fill ¼ of plate with wholegrains:

  • Brown rice
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Wholemeal noodles
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Whole grain chapati

Barley, rolled oats Fill ¼ of plate with protein
(meat or others):

  • Poultry (chicken, duck, turkey)
  • Oily fish (tuna, mackerel, tenggiri)
  • Lean red meat
  • Eggs
  • Legumes (peanuts, chickpeas)
  • Soy products (tofu, tempeh)
  • Milk, cheese, yoghurt

Fill ½ of plate with fruit and vegetables:

  • Dark green vegetables
    Broccoli, spinach, kailan
  • Colourful vegetables
    Carrot, brinjal, tomato, pumpkin
  • A rainbow of fruits
    Papaya, watermelon, orange, kiwi fruit
For a full list of serving size for children , please download the
My Healthy Plate Fact Sheet published by the Health Promotion Board.
Growth hormone secretion is enhanced during sleep, especially early in the night during slow wave sleep (also known as deep sleep). This nocturnal surge in growth hormone is more intense in children than adults and accounts for 70% of the amount of growth hormone released daily.11

Growth hormone secretion is compromised when sleep is disrupted.37 Not getting enough sleep can also have a negative effect on metabolism. Studies have consistently shown that short sleep duration was associated with shorter body length in the first 2 years of life and increased the risk of obesity in later childhood.38,39

The Singapore Health Promotion Board recommends following duration of quality sleep for optimal health.40

Table 2. Recommended duration of sleep for different age groups
Physical activity plays an important role in growth in a developing child. Exercise increases natural GH secretion, stimulates muscle development, strengthens bones, and contributes to overall physical and mental wellbeing.41

Physical activity refers to any bodily movement that requires energy expenditure.40 For children and adolescents, physical activity can be undertaken as part of recreation and leisure (play, games, sports or planned exercise), physical education, transportation (wheeling, walking and cycling) or household chores.42

Table 3. Physical activity guideline for different age groups

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