The UK government is nudging the public toward healthier lifestyles with the launch of an app-based pilot scheme to reward walking and healthy eating with gym passes and discounted clothes, food and entertainment.
The rewards program will allocate points to participants based on steps taken as well as fruit and veg consumption, which can then be redeemed for £3m worth of incentives backed by the Department of Health and Social Care.
From January 2022, participants in a yet to be disclosed location in England will be able to don a wrist-mounted device to count their steps and issue personalized dietary advice to the wearer, supported by a new app developed by HeadUp Systems following a competitive tender.
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: “I want to ensure we’re doing as much as we can to tackle health disparities across the country, and this new pilot will pave the way for developing innovative ways to improve the lives of individuals, and also help to reduce strain on the NHS.
“This pilot is an excellent opportunity to find how best to inspire people to make small changes to their daily lives that will have a lasting positive impact on their health.“
The preventative measures seek to reduce an estimated £6bn annual bill faced by the NHS for the treatment of obesity-related illnesses, with an estimated two-thirds of adults living in England classed as being overweight or obese.
Drawing on the expertise of Sir Keith Mills, pioneer of the Airmiles and Nectar points reward programs, the initiative has promised to protect user privacy and security as a matter of course.
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