Supported by the Ministry of Education Malaysia, the AIA Healthiest Schools programme uses education as a tool to empower school children to cultivate healthy habits

AIA Malaysia launched the AIA Healthiest Schools programme designed to encourage healthy living habits among students aged five to 16 by promoting healthy eating, active lifestyles, mental wellbeing, as well as health and sustainability in schools.

The AIA Healthiest Schools programme, which is supported by the Ministry of Education Malaysia, will provide free resources that teachers can easily use and integrate with their existing teaching plans. These resources will equip them to effectively introduce health and wellbeing concepts into their classrooms. The programme is open to all government, private and international schools, both primary and secondary levels.

A National Health and Morbidity Survey in 2022 showed that one-third of Malaysian teenagers aged 13-17 are overweight or obese[1], which can lead to a range of chronic illnesses that are usually only associated with older adults. Additionally, there is increasing recognition that younger children are experiencing mental health difficulties, with 1 in 20 Malaysian children aged five to nine estimated to have mental disorders, which include developmental disorders, such as anxiety and depression[2].

“Undoubtedly, one of the most pressing concerns in our nation is the state of our children’s health. We believe in the value that AIA Healthiest Schools programme will bring to our country - it is a proactive step towards promoting health literacy and wellbeing among Malaysian children through reliable and accessible educational resources,” said Ben Ng, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Malaysia.

“As an organisation that advocates for Healthier, Longer, Better Lives, we want to do our part to address the increasing rate of childhood health issues. As individuals, parents, schools, corporations and a country, we owe it to our children to do better in supporting their ability to inculcate a healthier lifestyle. Health is our greatest asset, and it is important that our future generations have a chance at living a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life. The AIA Healthiest Schools programme will be a natural extension of our advocacy and social responsibility, aimed at helping children be the best versions of themselves. We look forward to active participation from teachers and schools across Malaysia,” he added.

AIA Malaysia is working together with LeapEd, an organisation dedicated to whole-school transformation and student-centred learning, to implement the AIA Healthiest Schools programme in Malaysia. The programme provides free downloadable resources, available in multiple languages (English, Bahasa Melayu and Mandarin), which consist of introduction films, flexible activities, lesson plans, and fun games. Interactive workshops for teachers are also set to take place in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, and Ipoh to assist them in integrating the programme and adapting lessons into their existing teaching materials.

The AIA Healthiest Schools programme includes a competition to motivate participating schools to showcase their impact and success in driving better health outcomes amongst students. The competition will also serve as a platform for schools to build communities that share best practices and spark innovative ideas around promoting health and wellness. Prizes totalling USD 100,000 will be awarded to the schools that demonstrate the best health and wellness efforts.

The AIA Healthiest Schools programme was launched by AIA Group in 2022 as part of its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy with the purpose of bringing positive impact to the improvement of children’s health across the region. The first edition of the programme was held in four of AIA’s 18 markets – Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.

[1] Reference: NHMS Survey: One-Third Of Malaysian Teens Are Overweight Or Obese, Code Blue, 1 June 2023
[2] Reference: Mental disorders among the young on the rise, The Star, 20 September 2022