Share your fitness data for an Apple Watch – or cash

“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.)

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


  1. I see the day when insurance companies will be covering the cost of an Apple watch, and doctors will be prescribing it with impunity…

    What a flop…

    Keep the FBI out.

  2. I am surprised at your ignorance of obesity. Obesity is not a choice like smoking, it is a health condition. The majority of people with high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, etc. are not obese. Proper diet and exercise is important to everyone – obese or not. Encouraging exercise for everyone is a good thing, I applaud the insurance companies for doing this. As for your ignorant rant you should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. Obesity is, for a vast majority of people a choice exactly like smoking. There is plentiful research that confirms this. Often times, it is a difficult choice, one made out of necessity, when no other choices are available, or when other choices are difficult, but much like with smoking, great majority of those who are obese have diet that is too rich in sugar and fat.

      It is certainly not easy to force oneself to eat better food and smaller quantities of it. It is even more difficult to work into one’s daily life some 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. But there are countless examples of people who, when they made specific and concrete effort to do both, succeeded in significantly reducing their body weight.

      MDN is absolutely correct: there is a small percentage of obese persons who suffer from a health disorder or condition (some of which MDN listed above), but a sizeable majority of those who are obese in America got there the usual way: little to no physical exercise, and much more food than their body needs.

      Study after study of randomly selected obese people showed that lifestyle changes can have dramatic effect on person’s weight, and a lot of anecdotal evidence confirms what these studies show. I have known of several cases where a “New Year Resolution” brought about the change.

      The most serious problem is among the poor, who don’t have the time and the energy (never mind the money) to make such a radical change and invest that much will power in order to do this. It is no more easy than quitting smoking. And relapse rates tend to be as high. But is is possible, and for all those whose obesity isn’t a symptom (or a consequence) of an underlying cause, there is a way.

      And MDN is also correct that for those who got obese the usual way (no exercise / fat, sugary diet) should properly share in the burden of health costs, and those who demonstrate effort (exercise) shouldn’t. It is only fair to all of those who find the time, energy and willpower to spend 30 minutes of their daily free time to elevate their heart rate and engage their body in a physical activity, for no other reason that being healthier.

    2. Yes a small percentage fall into that situation. The rest are simply making bad choices.
      A year or two ago someone posted a very thought provoking comment. They had come across their parents high school yearbook from the 50s. After looking at all the pictures, they noticed that the majority were normal looking weight. Only a few were slightly heavy.
      If obesity is genetic, where were they then?

    3. Obesity is the culmination of food manufacturers putting obscene amounts of sugar and using scientist to figure out how to get us to eat more using a variety of techniques (taste, smell, psychology, etc, etc). To say obesity is simply a “choice” is a very myopic and disingenuous view. Sugar affects the brain much like cocaine…and even diet sodas have same effects on blood brain chemistry as sugar. Furthermore we have become a more sedentary society with the rise of cable TV (late 70s, early 80s), video games (80s and 90s), and Internet Web (90s to today).

      The problem is much more than simple a generation of people suddenly decided to be obese.

  3. I noticed that if I choose an “Other” workout on my Apple Watch it counts 1300 calories burned and several hours of exercise over the course of 4 hours mostly spent sitting at home. On the other hand a brisk “Outdoor Walk” workout for half an hour burns 200 cal at most. I assume the problem is with the accuracy of the heart rate monitor, but there is probably something else going on and it’s leading me to believe that Apple’s numbers are nowhere near accurate.

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