A Discovery Vitality and Apple-sponsored behaviour change study has found that technology-based incentives drive dramatic and sustained improvements in physical activity levels. As diseases of lifestyle place an increasing financial burden on governments, the findings could have important implications for health policy. The study found that people considerably increased their exercise levels when faced with the choice of having to buy an Apple Watch or getting one free if they meet daily physical activity goals. The insight is unique partly because of the scale and duration of the study, which tracked the behaviour of more than 420,000 Vitality Active Rewards members across the UK, the US and SA over two years. It also provides evidence that loss-framed financial incentives — where an individual receives something upfront but can lose part or all of it if goals are not met — are more effective in improving physical activity levels than gain-framed financial incentives. This was demo...

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