Study of 950,000 Adults Demonstrates That Participants in Incentive-Based Health Promotion Programs Have Lower Healthcare Costs

Thursday, March 11, 2010 General News
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CHICAGO, March 9 Employers are increasingly looking to workplace wellness programs to motivate employees to play an active role in improving their health, thereby reducing overall healthcare costs. Deepak N. Patel, MD, Mmed, senior clinical specialist for Discovery Vitality, will present new findings indicating that health plan members who participated in health and fitness-related activities within an incentive-based health insurance wellness program had significantly lower healthcare costs. Discovery is the parent company of The Vitality Group, based in Chicago.

Dr. Patel's presentation will take place at the 20th Annual Art & Science of Health Promotion Conference, March 15-19 in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Hosted by the American Journal of Health Promotion, the conference brings together health promotion practitioners and scientists from various disciplines and settings. Sessions will report on methods and concepts that have proven to be most effective.

The study examined the medical claims data over one year of 948,974 adult members of South Africa's largest private insurer, Discovery Health. Of these members, more than 62 percent (591,134) registered for Vitality(TM), an incentive and reward-based health promotion program offered by Discovery Health to its members. In the United States, Vitality is offered independently by The Vitality Group.

"The rise in incidence of chronic disease and associated healthcare costs is unsustainable," said Dr. Patel. "As researchers, it is critical we evaluate and identify solutions to mitigate this trend. Although more research will need to be done, this study is encouraging as it shows a positive correlation between engagement in health promotion and lower healthcare costs."

The study was led by Dr. Patel and Estelle V. Lambert, PhD, UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, UCT School of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.

About The Vitality Group

The Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Holdings Limited, a leading international financial services institution founded on the principles of consumer engagement and wellness and the originator of the Vitality health promotion program. Vitality wellness programs serve more than 1.7 million members in companies in a wide range of sizes and industry categories, improving individuals' health and well-being as well as employers' and health plans' bottom lines. Early adopters in the United States include some of America's most forward-thinking companies. They join global organizations in the United Kingdom and South Africa who together are proving the effectiveness of the Vitality health enhancement solution in reducing healthcare costs.

SOURCE The Vitality Group

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