Increased physical activity leads to other healthy behaviors and improved health according to a new study from the Vitality Group featured in a recent report from the World Economic Forum published in collaboration with Willis Towers Watson.
“Leveraging principles of behavioral economics, including incentives and rewards, can activate people to change their health behaviors,” said Dr. Derek Yach, Vitality’s Chief Health Officer and member of the Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum’s Council on Human-centric Health. “Our study is the first of its kind to establish that increases in physical activity can trigger improvements in other health-promoting behaviors and overall health status.”
The Vitality study analyzed data from 100,000 US Vitality members over a five-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.
Dr. Yach participated in a World Economic Forum and Willis Towers Watson event at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland last month to discuss the report’s findings and extent to which behavioral economics can improve health. To join the conversation on Twitter, follow Discovery @Discovery_SA or Vitality @VitalityUSA. For more information about Vitality Group, please visit www.thevitalitygroup.com.
About Vitality Group
Vitality changes the economics of healthcare by integrating expertise in wellness and well-being, insurance, and technology to change the behaviors that lead to poorer health. Uniquely monetizing health in ways that actively encourage engagement in healthier lifestyles, Vitality provides benefits from day one to members, employers, and society. Vitality brings a global perspective through successful partnerships with employers of all sizes (U.S. corporate wellness offering) and best-in- class insurers around the world, in countries including the United States (John Hancock), Canada (Manulife), United Kingdom (Vitality Health, Vitality Life), Europe (Generali), South Africa (Discovery), China (Ping-an), Singapore (AIA), Australia (AIA) and Japan (Sumitomo Life). Drawing on behavioral economics, Vitality supports, guides and incentivizes individuals to improve their health, and then prices their risk dynamically over time based on their engagement in the Vitality Program. This shared value insurance model results in material benefits shared between the employer (lower health claims), insurer (more profits), members (greater health and financial rewards) and society (a healthier, more productive workforce).
Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Ltd., a global financial service organization and pioneer of the Shared-value Insurance model. The Vitality program currently serves more than 4 million members in 14 countries around the world with plans to launch in an additional ten markets over the next two years.
For more information about Vitality Group, please visit www.thevitalitygroup.com and follow on Twitter: @VitalityUSA.
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