A global study conducted for Vitality Insurance has revealed that people will exercise more if they are given a reward, such as a great deal on an Apple Watch. Adrian Gore, founder of Vitality Insurance, said the findings could motivate financial services companies to change their business models to reward clients in the same way.
“The industry has a remarkable opportunity to make society healthier,” he said, according to Financial Times (FT).
Vitality already rewards its subscribers who reach a certain step-count target or make other healthy decisions, with such benefits as a Starbucks drink or discounted gym membership. However, life insurance company John Hancock partnered with Vitality to offer both Apple Watch and Fitbit devices to its policyholders, while Fitbit is working with Humana, a U.S. health insurer, for its coaching app.
During the study, participants paid an upfront sum — £99 ($126 USD) for an Apple Watch 4 or £9 for an Apple Watch 3 — and a monthly payment of up to £12.50, depending on how much they worked out. For those logging the most activity, there was no monthly charge.
The data showed that over a two-year period, the group using Apple Watches saw an average 34 percent increase in activity, or 4.8 extra days of activity a month (or, as Vitality estimated, two extra years of life). In fact, activity increased across all participants — who ranged in age and race, and came from the U.K., U.S. and South Africa.
As for Apple, it is already making moves to boost its presence in the healthcare sector, including using the iPhone for electronic medical records and clinical research. The Apple Watch Series 4 was recently given clearance by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for its three heart-monitoring capabilities.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said the results of Vitality's study were “an exciting indicator of how much more we can achieve.”