Government spending £3,000,000 to create its own version of Fitbit
A new app helping people to eat better and exercise more will launch next year, the government has announced.
From January 2022, a pilot will see users wearing wrist-worn devices giving them personalised health advice, such as increasing their step count, eating more fruit and vegetables and decreasing portion size.
They will collect points for healthy behaviour, unlock rewards such as gym passes, clothes or food vouchers and discounts for shops, cinema and theme park tickets.
Health 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.
‘The Office of Health Improvement and Disparities is driving forward our levelling up agenda for health and ensuring prevention is a vital part of everything we do.
‘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 Department of Health and Social Care will pump £3 million into the scheme, which will be delivered by firm HeadUp in a yet-to-be-announced location in England over six months.
HeadUp said it will work with a number of organisations to provide the rewards, as evidence suggests financial incentives can improve rates of physical activity and inspire healthier eating.
David Parfitt, strategy director of the firm, said: ‘As an evidence-based, data science company focused on people’s health around the world, we are immensely proud to be working with the government and key stakeholders, people in the community, and with the behavioural insights team as our design and evaluation partner, to play a part in piloting an exciting new approach to the urgent and important challenge of helping people engage with their health and improve their health behaviours.’