Discovery Vitality on Tuesday released its results for its 10-week public campaign, the Vitality Open. File picture: Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Discovery Vitality on Tuesday released its results for its 10-week public campaign, the Vitality Open, which was aimed at getting South Africans to exercise more and improve their driving behaviour.

Vitality’s chief executive officer Dinesh Govender said: "We know there are two main behaviours causing significant illness and death among South Africans – physical inactivity, and how we drive. Globally, more than five million people die prematurely as a result of sedentary lifestyles, and more than 1.25 million people die in road accidents every year. Through the Vitality Open, we wanted to create greater awareness for the need to change the behaviours that lead to road accidents and the rise in non-communicable diseases in South Africa."

More than half a million South Africans, whether a Vitality member or not, had the opportunity to take part in Vitality Discovery's science-based behavioural programme.

"The Vitality Open encouraged participants to be more active and to drive more safely with personalised fitness and driving goals through the Discovery app.

"By reaching these goals, participants earned weekly rewards and entries into a grand prize draw for flights, fuel, gym membership, movies, concert tickets, smoothies, coffees, tyres, Uber trips, Nando’s, running shoes, HealthyFood and the latest iPhone for life."

Winners of the prizes were announced on Monday, 10 December.

Govender said the Vitality Open proved to be "incredibly successful, especially considering the complexity associated with changing behaviour."

More than 550,000 South Africans participated in the Vitality Open.

"Eighty percent of new participants were not Vitality members, reflecting the broad appeal of the Vitality Open and the effectiveness of rewards to encourage behaviour change. New participants increased their physical activity by 34 percent over the 10 weeks. Almost one third of new participants improved their driving substantially enough to significantly reduce their risk of accidents. Seventy five thousand people participated in park-runs at venues across South Africa - a 24% increase," Vitality said.

The positive results from the Vitality Open in South Africa are even more significant against the backdrop of the ground-breaking new behaviour-change study done by RAND Europe. This study, which included Vitality Active Rewards participants in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa over a two-year period, found an average increase of 44 percent in activity levels of South African participants using Vitality Active Rewards with Apple Watch compared with those without Apple Watch as an incentive.

Govender concluded: "We are thrilled with the results of the 10-week campaign and congratulate every person who took part to become more active and make our roads safer. The Vitality Open represented Discovery’s shared-value model of developing and utilising our technologies and products to positively impact society. Another component of Vitality Open that reflected this was MoveToGive. Instead of choosing a coffee, smoothie or other reward, Vitality Open participants had the opportunity to donate their rewards. I’m pleased to announce that thousands contributed towards building a ‘Dream Room’ at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital with Reach for a Dream. These rooms create a sanctuary for children with life-threatening illnesses. The campaign also contributed over 42,000 meals for FoodForward SA, who works to reduce food wastage and recovers surplus food from farms, retailers and restaurants to distribute it to people in need."

African News Agency (ANA)