Discovery Vitality has launched an intervention to intensify efforts to combat the alarming rise in obesity and associated healthcare costs through Discovery Vitality Weight Loss Rewards.
This behaviour-based intervention aims to combat overweight and obesity, an epidemic that currently causes as many as 3.4 million deaths annually. Vitality Weight Loss Rewards uses behavioural economics principles and methods to help and reward participants – with a Body Mass Index (BMI) or waist circumference outside recommended ranges – to reach weight-loss goals in short, manageable cycles.
Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Vitality Wellness, says, “Obesity in South Africa is alarmingly high, and with almost 70% of women and 40% of men classified as obese or overweight, South Africa has the highest obesity rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not only is it (excess weight) bad for health, but it also has an immense impact on healthcare costs. In a Vitality study, we saw healthcare costs increased by more than R4,000 a year, when compared with the costs of people with a healthy body weight. There is certainly no quick-fix solution to this problem. However, with the implementation of national strategies such as the sugar tax, we are taking small steps towards addressing it as a nation. With Vitality Weight Loss Rewards, Vitality responds to this societal issue through an intervention that encourages more people to reach a healthier weight. The personalised goals and rewards aim to ultimately help them form habits that are good for their health and for healthy weight maintenance,” Nossel added.
Offering weight-management support, Vitality Weight Loss Rewards combines weight-tracking tools and guided access to dietitians, weight-management programmes such as Weight Watchers and Vitality Active Rewards. To encourage continued participation, extended discounts on healthy food options offered through Vitality’s HealthyFood benefit are part of the rewards.
Similar to Vitality Active Rewards, Vitality’s weight-loss intervention will run through smartphones with the Discovery app for members. Vitality Weight Loss Rewards will be recommended for specific people, aged 18 to 79, who fall into a qualifying range following Vitality-verified weigh in. Vitality members eligible to participate are those with a BMI greater or equal to 30 OR a BMI between 25 and 29.9 and a waist circumference greater or equal to 94 cm for males, and greater or equal to 80 cm for females.
Goal setting is personal and based on clinically significant and safe weight loss, and there are three levels of goals and rewards. During the initial 12-week cycle, Vitality points, and additional cash back on HealthyFood (up to 50% during the initial 12-week cycle once in a lifetime) form part of the goal tracking on the app. Vitality Weight Loss Rewards carries no additional costs, only that associated with a Vitality Health Check (paid for medical scheme members), a weigh in with the Vitality Wellness Network or a Vitality Fitness Assessment to start the journey.