Vitality Group Featured as Health Innovation Leader in New World Economic Forum Report

By Derek Yach

Vitality Group’s program has been featured as a leading innovator in health in a report by the World Economic Forum. Published in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson, the report was released today at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Leveraging principles of behavioral economics that were originally pioneered by Nobel prize-winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, can activate people to change their health behaviors. The Vitality study that is included in the World Economic Forum report is the first to establish that workplace health programs have potential to use engagement in physical activity to trigger improvements in other health-promoting behaviors and overall health status.

The Vitality study analyzed data from 100,000 US Vitality members over a three-year period. It concluded that the greatest improvements in health occurred among members who were the least physically active, and that incremental physical activity led to changes in other health behaviors. Successes in the Vitality program were attributed to high employee engagement within companies that leveraged behavioral economics strategies. Strategies included: promoting participation through a comprehensive health communications strategy; providing upfront incentives and a rewards platform for healthy behavior; recruiting internal health champions; and offering health services such as on-site screening.

Vitality’s ability to change health behaviors has been independently shown to increase healthy food purchases, reduce hospitalizations and length of hospital stays, and lower medical and prescription costs. The science and behavioral economics strategies embedded within Vitality provide the basis for the program, which covers 4 million lives in 15 countries.

Today, I participated in a World Economic Forum and Willis Towers Watson event in Davos to discuss the report’s findings and the extent to which behavioral economics can improve health.

To learn more about how behavioral economics can trigger other health activities, please follow Derek Yach on Twitter @swimdaily or Vitality @VitalityUSA.

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