Government app to offer citizens £3m in rewards for diet and exercise

Written by Sam Trendall on 29 October 2021 in News
News

Wearable device will provide access to discounts and tickets for those who reduce portion sizes and take more steps

A government-backed app will pay out £3m in rewards to citizens who make “healthy choices” about their lifestyle.

Specialist firm HeadUp has been awarded a contract to develop the program, which is due to launch on a trial basis next year. The software, which will run on a wrist-worn device, will “generate personalised health recommendations [for users], such as increasing their step count, eating more fruit and vegetables and decreasing portion size”, according to the government.

Those who make follow such recommendations will then be given access to rewards including discounts or vouchers for clothes shops, cinemas, gyms or theme parks. Pilots of the technology are due to begin in January, will run for six months and will take place “in a defined location in England to be announced in due course”.

The launch of the app will be part of a nationwide healthy-weight strategy, run by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and intended to reduce what the government claims is £6bn of NHS spending each year on obesity-related illnesses.

Health and social care 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.”

HeadUp claims it “harnesses the power of wearable technology, data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to help you optimise your health”.

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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