Money and Markets

60% of Discovery Vitality members are overweight - and they will now get personalised weight-loss plans and fitness goals

Business Insider SA

A Team Vitality runner during the Tyger Run in Mar
A Team Vitality runner during the Tyger Run in March (Facebook, Discovery Vitality)
  • Vitality Active Rewards is set to undergo a major revamp to reduce the overweight rate among members.
  • Almost 60% of members are considered overweight, according to BMI tests.
  • Changes to the programme include personalised food targets and weight-loss goals.

The Vitality Active Rewards programme will see a major revamp the next few months to help members slim down. 

Almost 60% of Discover Vitality's 1.8 million members are considered overweight, according to body mass index tests (BMI).

Also read: This Garmin hack can earn you all the Discovery Vitality points of a 30 minute workout – sitting at your desk

Vitality CEO Dinesh Govender tells Business Insider SA that food choices play a major role in obesity and new changes to Vitality will specifically try to incentive people to eat healthier.

Upcoming changes to Vitality include:

  • Overweight members will be rewarded for going on a "tailored" weight-loss "journey".
  • HealthyFood targets - which give members discounts on healthy foods - will be personalised.
  • Members will get personalised Vitality health goals, based on their medical history and Vitality Health Check results.
  • Discovery Health Medical Scheme members with a risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but who aren't on Vitality, will gain access to a free version of Vitality Active Rewards.
  • Members will get up to 25% cash back on healthier meals at partner restaurants such as Nando's, Colcacchio, Ocean Basket and Doppio Zero. Kids will get 50% cashback.

Govender said Vitality will also work with retail partners and manufacturers to get more healthy meals onto the shelves.

He said while the company’s own Vitality Health Checks’ BMI results show that 58.8% of members are overweight, 53.7% are actually classified as not being overweight when their results are adjusted with waist-circumferences.

In comparison, StatsSA found in 2016 that 73.6% of women in the highest wealth quintile are overweight or obese and 55.8% of men.

Globally, 40% of females and 39% of males are classified as overweight or obese.

“Thus the proportion of DHMS members engaging in a VHC that are classified as overweight or obese is higher than the global average but lower compared to middle- to upper-income South Africans,” Govender said.

Also read: Revealed: Discovery Vitality discounts on flights may be much smaller than you think

He said Vitality members tend to show a 24% increase in physical activity (from on average 5 days a month to 7 days) after activating Vitality Active Rewards, and increased their proportion of high-intensity workouts by 9% to 40% of all workouts.

Members highly engaged on Vitality also have 10% lower hospital admission rates, 25% lower length of stay in hospital and 14% lower hospital costs per patient relative to members not registered on Vitality, he said.

Govender said highly engaged Vitality members have an average life expectancy of 87 years, compared to 81 years of Vitality members and 67 years among the South African insured population.

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