New NHS proposals could see families offered discounts on their weekly shop, provided they can hit weekly "step targets" and show they're doing some exercise. The proposals are designed to get people more active, and thus healthier, and also include things like free bikes, sprinting tracks on pavements, and outdoor public gyms - like those machines you see in parks.
The idea is to create a 'design for life', which will be piloted in a set number of towns with the intention of getting people to stop spending all their time sitting around - particularly the young and old. The people whop meet their app-track targets will could be offered discounts on sports gear, cinema tickets, a gym membership, and their weekly shop. Housing developers will also be asked to provide free bikes to "cut car use and promote cycling". Which is great, provided you can actually afford a house.
This idea was reportedly inspired by some health insurance providers, who offer customers up to 25 per cent off Ocado deliveries if they hit monthly exercise targets.
I have to agree with the sentiment here. If you want people to start exercising more frequently, it's obvious that promoting the health aspects doesn't work on some people. Offering financial incentives sounds like a good way to get people on their feet, especially if the targets are easy to reach. Plus, I know I've said that lowering the cost of going to the gym would be a good way to get people to sign up.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said:
"If there’s to be a much needed wave of new housebuilding across England, let’s “design-in” health from the start. Everyone wins where children can walk to school and play safely outside. Everyone benefits when people can easily walk to a nearby shop and where neighbours can get to know and look out for each other"
Apparently the boldest ideas are being discussed in Cheshire, where discussions are already underway to offer discounts, free bikes to home owners, and install sprinting tracks on pavements. In Oxfordshire a new scheme has already starting giving families the chance to win things like Fitbits if they take part in exercise challenges. All good ideas if you ask me.
I say go for it. There's no doubt that some people will figure out ways to game the system and get free stuff without actually doing any exercise, but any reasonable incentive to get people off their arses and moving around can only be a good thing. [The Telegraph]