By using the Better Health: Rewards app, users can earn around £40-worth of tickets and vouchers for meeting healthy eating and exercise goals / Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock
A pilot scheme to trial the health benefits of using the Better Health: Rewards app, has launched in the UK
The initiative is backed by £3m government funding and developed by Sir Keith Mills, who pioneered reward programmes through Air Miles and Nectar points
Users receive a free fitness wearable to track exercise which is rewarded with gym passes, supermarket vouchers and gift cards
Scheme devised to reduce obesity cost to NHS, which is currently £6.5bn but expected to reach £10bn by 2050
Residents of Wolverhampton, UK can earn gym discounts and food vouchers for exercising and eating healthily through the new Better Health: Rewards app. The 20-week pilot scheme has been backed by £3m from the government and delivered by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities in partnership with Wolverhampton City Council.
The scheme’s goal is to reduce obesity levels and its budget-draining impact on the NHS by incentivising people to increase their physical activity levels and eat a balanced diet, in line with the Eatwell Guide.
Obesity costs the NHS £6.5bn annually and is expected to hit almost £10bn by 2050. If the pilot scheme is successful it could save the NHS billions which could be diverted to frontline services and reduce waiting lists.
Once signed up, users collect points for each goal they complete. They can earn at least £40-worth of rewards by taking part, which include: passes from Pure Gym, Nuffield, Places Leisure and WV Active; supermarket vouchers from Aldi, Asda, Morrisons Sainsbury and Tesco; gift cards for Amazon, Argos and TKMaxx; and tickets to events and activities.
The development of the pilot was led by Health Incentives adviser Sir Keith Mills – who pioneered reward programmes through Air Miles and Nectar points – which had been expected to start last year.
“This scheme is a fantastic opportunity to explore how government and business can work together to deliver a new and engaging way of supporting the public to make healthier choices,” said Mills. “Through the pilot we will have exciting and innovative partners on board which will help motivate people to want to earn incentives, but also should help them overcome barriers to making healthy decisions in future.”
A free fitness tracker is sent to all users and the council has set up public digital sessions for those who need help and advice on how to connect the tech. It also provides access to recipes and cooking tips from nutritionists to help people make healthier meals.
“The launch of the new Better Health: Rewards app today in Wolverhampton will help us see how we can empower people to make healthy changes to their lifestyle,” said Steve Barclay, health and social care secretary. “The pilot is an opportunity to explore how we can further harness technology to support people to improve their physical health, prevent illnesses before they develop and help to ease pressure on the NHS.”
The app is available to download until 31 March 2023.