“You know you need to exercise more, but there’s always next week, or the week after?” Anick Jesdanun reports for The Associated Press. “To entice you to stop procrastinating, your company or insurer might soon reward you for wearing a fitness device to track your steps, heart rate and more.”

“For instance, in one program expected to be announced Wednesday, some workers can buy a $350 Apple Watch for just $25 by meeting exercise goals for two years. Vitality, a provider of disease-prevention and lifestyle programs, is initially bringing the offer to U.S. employees at three companies, along with John Hancock life-insurance customers. It has been testing the program in South Africa since December,” Jesdanun reports. “Other programs let you can redeem points from fitness activities for gift cards and other rewards. Submit to biometric screenings and nutrition classes, and in some cases you can earn cash in the form of insurance discounts.”

“Adrian Gore, CEO and founder of Vitality parent company Discovery Group, says that for many people, the benefits from exercise might not be apparent for a few decades. Reward programs make the payoff more immediate,” Jesdanun reports. “With the Apple Watch program, participants must pay back Vitality for every month they miss their fitness goals, which typically call for four substantial workouts a week. The goals are meant to be achievable, but tough enough to encourage a change in lifestyle. Participants qualify for smaller discounts by meeting some of the goals and can get more expensive models by paying the difference. Bonus point offers are sent to the watch. An iPhone is required; Vitality has no current plans to offer anything similar for Android.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Every company and insurer should offer such programs.

As we wrote last September:

Can’t happen soon enough. Those who want to sit around, munching chips, while encasing themselves in growing rolls of fat should pay more for the costs brought on by their heart attacks, gout, diabetes, strokes, asthma, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and cancer treatments.

Next we need a way for Apple Watch to detect smokers and charge them more, too. People who make the effort to be healthy, regardless of whether they actually are lucky enough to be healthy or not*, should pay less for their health insurance as they tax the system far less than those who are sedentary, obese and/or smoke. Just as life insurance costs more for those who live unhealthy lifestyles, their health insurance should cost more, too. (Life insurers should utilize Apple Watches in much the same way.)

*If a person is obese for reasons beyond a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle, who is actively trying to be healthy as shown by their Apple Watch, but other conditions prevent fat loss (Hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, hormonal imbalances, Syndrome X, medications, etc.) they should get a lower rate than those who are simply leading sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles. Most cases of obesity are due to sedentary lifestyles and consuming more calories than required, not medical conditions.

Furthermore, people should have every right to sit around eating chips and smoking until they drop dead (unfortunately, it’s rarely that clean; they often first tax the health system to a great degree by developing diabetes, cancers, banging off a couple of heart attacks, having a stroke here and there, etc. before they finally make their exit) and insurance companies should have every right to charge them more since, overall, they cost far more to take care of due to their poor choice(s) which raises costs for those who are trying to take care of themselves and therefore cost the system far less.

If you’re fat because you sit around too much and take in more calories than you can possible burn off by sitting on your ass all day, don’t be offended. Either keep on as you’re doing and pay more to cover your increased costs or put down the chips, stand up and get moving! (You can thank us later by continuing to visit during the 10-20 extra years you’ll get by following our latter advice.)

SEE ALSO:
Tim Cook hints Apple might build a health device – November 10, 2015
Apple should double down on Apple Watch’s health sensors, battery life, and waterproofing – October 2, 2015
Health insurer will charge more for lazy people, less for active people, based on Apple Watch sensors – September 18, 2015