UK Government Could Offer Financial Rewards for Healthier Lifestyles

Edward Cooper
·3-min read
Photo credit: FG Trade - Getty Images
Photo credit: FG Trade - Getty Images

From Men's Health

As part of the ongoing fight against obesity, the UK government is planning to expand access to health, fitness and weight-loss services in an effort to encourage the population to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The incentive, which will see the Department of Health and Social Care paying £100m for 700,000 overweight or obese people to attend weight management courses or working with personal fitness coaches to help them lose weight, is part of a wider push to make healthier lifestyles more attainable in the UK.

Seir Keith Mills, the creator of reward-scheme company Nectar, has been asked by the UK government to explore potential financial incentives to motivate people to eat healthier and increase daily movement.

Last year, the British Medical Journal published research detailing how 26 per cent (1.6m) of Singapore's population had taken part in a similar government-backed scheme, where "health points" could be traded for rewards up to US$10.

With two-thirds of adult Britons classed as overweight or obese, the government has consulted leading health charities such as the Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation to advise on promoting active lifestyles.

Speaking of the announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a Twitter video, "I've been doing a lot — in fact, everything I can — to lose weight and to feel fitter and healthier... I've been getting up to go for runs and the result is, you know, I actually have lost some weight. Quite a lot, by my standards. I feel much more energetic, I feel full of beans and I thoroughly, thoroughly recommend it."

"I know there are many people who are in the same position as I am and I was and who want to lose weight and that's why we're investing now in that whole national objective with £100 million to help people to access GP appointments, to get the right apps that they need to lose weight and we're also looking at Fit-Mile schemes as well."

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"And what we want to do is to encourage another 700,000 people around the country who have the kind of problems that I have had to do the same thing, so we'll be not just fitter, but also healthier and happier. We'll bounce back better together."

The Prime Minister's announcement comes after the World Health Organisation issued a "wake-up call" to overweight Western countries, focusing on how high Covid-19 death rates correlation with high obesity levels.

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