Overweight ‘to be offered Fitbits and supermarket discounts on NHS’

·1-min read
Obesity (PA Wire)
Obesity (PA Wire)

The overweight may be offered Fitbits, supermarket discounts and shopping vouchers under NHS plans to get them to shed pounds.

Health bosses are to launch a £6 million pilot rewards scheme as an incentive to dieters.

Supermarkets and fitness firms will be asked to bid to run the study, which could be expanded across the UK if a success, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Other proposals under discussion include the prescription of Fitbits to persuade the public to take part in a national competitive step challenge.

Officials are looking at weight-loss methods trialled abroad.

Singapore had a “national steps challenge” encouraging people to compete using digital trackers.

Sir Keith Mills, who pioneered the Air Miles and Nectar points programmes, is an adviser on the six-month pilot starting in January 2022.

Two in three UK adults are overweight or obese, along with a third of children leaving primary school.

Obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS £6 billion a year and have fuelled death rates from coronavirus.

Sir Keith said: “The Health Incentives scheme could be a vital tool in the Government’s plans to tackle health inequalities and encourage healthier behaviours.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for businesses, the public and third sectors to come together and deliver a new and exciting way of supporting people to healthier habits."

Last year ministers said the NHS could save £100m if everyone who was overweight lost at least five pounds.

GPs are already paid to refer those who are obese for slimming advice.

Public health minister Jo Churchill, the, said: “This aims to help level up the health of our nation. This scheme further demonstrates the dedication in our strategy to encourage people to lead healthier, happier lives.”

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