health

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



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he 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.



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