New app to help people make healthy lifestyle changes

A new app to help people make positive changes to their diet and physical activity will be launched next year, the government announced today.

Starting in January 2022, a pilot project will see users wearing devices on the wrist that can generate personalized health recommendations, such as increasing the number of steps, eating more fruits and vegetables, and reducing portion sizes.

Users will accumulate points for these healthy behaviors which will unlock rewards, which could include gym passes, clothing or food stamps and discounts for stores, movie tickets or park tickets to. theme.

Following a competitive bidding process, HeadUp was chosen to implement the new scheme, with £ 3million also coming from the Department of Health and Welfare to provide incentives.

Evidence suggests that financial incentives can improve physical activity rates and inspire healthier eating. HeadUp will therefore work with a range of organizations to offer rewards such as vouchers, merchandise, discounts and gift cards.

The government is committed to helping people lead healthier, happier lives by making it easier for them to make healthy choices.

Health and Social Affairs Secretary Sajid Javid said:

I want to make sure that we are doing all we can to tackle health disparities across the country, and this new pilot will pave the way for the development of innovative ways to improve the lives of individuals, and also help reduce the pressure on the NHS.

The Office of Health Improvement and Disparities advances our Health Upgrade agenda and ensures that prevention is a vital part of everything we do.

This pilot is a great opportunity to find the best way to inspire people to make small changes in their daily lives that will have a lasting positive impact on their health. “

As part of our leading healthy weight strategy, the new program will be part of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) drive to use digital technology to improve physical health and prevent health problems. before they develop.

Obesity-related diseases cost the NHS £ 6 billion a year and the scale of the challenge has been highlighted by COVID-19 disproportionately affecting overweight people. With nearly two-thirds of adults in England suffering from overweight or obesity, the program will focus on incentives and rewards for healthy behaviors, including increased physical activity and better nutrition for help people lead healthier lives.

Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said:

We are committed to improving the health of people across the country.

The HeadUp app pilot will help us better understand how appropriate rewards can motivate people to make positive changes to their diet and physical activity, helping them lead healthier lives. “

Internationally, there are examples of innovative incentive programs showing promising results, such as Singapore’s National Steps Challenge, and the government will work closely with international partners to understand what makes these successful. programs to inform best practice in England.

Sir Keith Mills, who pioneered reward programs through Airmiles and Nectar Points, advises the Health Incentives Scheme and will help the government leverage the best innovations from the public and private sectors.

The new app will put user privacy and security at the heart of its concerns and ensure that all personal information is protected and secure at all times.

Sir Keith Mills, Health Incentives Advisor, said:

This program is a fantastic opportunity to explore how government, business and the third sector can work together to come up with a new and engaging way to help people make healthier choices.

Through the pilot, we will have exciting and innovative partners on board who will help motivate people to want to earn incentives, but should also help them overcome barriers to healthy decision making in the future. I can’t wait to see how this program will evolve. “

David Parfitt, Chief Strategy Officer at HeadUp said:

We are excited to be working with OHID to design and implement a truly innovative initiative to support the future of population health in England.

As an evidence-based data science company focused on the health of people around the world, we are extremely proud to work with government and key stakeholders, community members and with the Behavioral team. Insights as a design and evaluation partner, to play a role in piloting an exciting new approach to address the urgent and important challenge of helping people get involved in their health and improve their health behaviors. health. “

The Health Incentives Scheme was announced as part of a £ 100million government support program to help people with obesity move closer to healthier weights and give them the tools they need. need to maintain it.

The pilot will launch in January 2022 and will last 6 months at a defined location in England to be announced in due course.


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