Apple Watch users 34 percent more active when exercises tracked, says insurer

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 28
Participants in the John Hancock Vitality program who were given Apple Watches for $25 showed greater physical activity compared to users without one, with dramatic increases in "high-intensity activity days" across the board.

Apple Watch
Apple Watch similar to those used in the study


A study by the RAND Corporation of 400,000 people across the US, Europe and South Africa found that incentives including subsidised Apple Watches significantly improved people's activity. In the research conducted for financial and life insurance firm John Hancock, participants with a watch on average increased their number of active days by 31 percent on the company's Vitality program.

They also increased what the study calls high-intensity activity days by 52 percent. The most inactive participants in the US with the highest average body mass index increased their physical activity by 200 percent. Brooks Tingle, John Hancock Insurance President and CEO said that the Apple Watch program is "helping our customers live healthier lives."

Since 2016, the insurer has been offering customers Apple Watches which cost them $25 if they achieve certain physical activity goals. On the publication of this study, John Hancock Insurance is updating the offer to feature Apple Watch Series 4.

"The RAND research proves [that] the experience of our customers to date will have long-term impact," said Marianne Harrison, joint CEO of John Hancock. "People can successfully take small, everyday steps to improve their overall health."

Separately from the RAND Corporation research, the insurer earlier this year began moving all customers to policies that feature Vitality incentives such as the Apple Watch.

Sample of John Hancock health incentives
Sample of John Hancock health incentives


Similarly, insurance firm UnitedHealthcare is now offering a free Apple Watch Series 3 to customers who achieve daily fitness goals for six months.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    There's really two sides to this story:
    Yes, the Apple Watch certainly encourages consistent activity and exercise.   It's really very good at that.

    But, another aspect is that it enables healthcare providers, insurers, researchers and employers to get an accurate, objective and timely view into what you are doing (or not doing!)...   While that information could obviously be misused, it also offers a potential revolution in healthcare -- shifting from a passive disease management model ("Take this pill ....") to one supporting and training people to live healthy lifestyles.

    We spend $3 Trillion a year on health care.  And, it's estimated that 75% of that goes to treat chronic diseases -- 75%  of which could have been prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle.   Basically that means that about half our $3 Trillion a year goes to treat coach potatoes sitting around eating pizza.
    lostkiwijony0
  • Reply 2 of 11
    BebeBebe Posts: 114member
    I agree with these findings based on experience.
  • Reply 3 of 11
    When Apple Watch came, I thought what was the point? Then my boss gave a Series 2 to everyone in the company (small company) for Christmas (this was the year series 2 came out). While I was already pretty active, but I found myself striving to do all of Apple's Challenges. I liked it enough to upgrade to series 4. Apple was smart to make Health the focus. Separate health wearables will go the way of standalone GPS (the ones not built into cars) soon
    GeorgeBMaclostkiwiwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 11
    If I got an Apple Watch for $25 I'd be jumping for joy too.
    DAalsethjohnbroussardlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    If these results are reliable, health and life insurance companies can earn larger profits if their clients/patients use Apple Watch. On that basis alone, Warren Buffett’s several insurance companies should promote the use of Apple Watch.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    If these results are reliable, health and life insurance companies can earn larger profits if their clients/patients use Apple Watch. On that basis alone, Warren Buffett’s several insurance companies should promote the use of Apple Watch.
    True,  except that we ALL win!
    When insurance companies don't have to pay out, neither do they have to raise our rates.

    We need to thank all those (like Tim) who get up early to exercise.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Let’s realize that the patients that choose to purchase the Apple Watch are self selecting themselves into a healthier category. In other words, they were probably going to be active anyway. ... if you were to force all patients to track their activity there is no guarantee that you would get the same results. 
  • Reply 8 of 11
    I started being more active once I got my original Apple Watch. Not that I was sedentary mind you but I'm often compelled to complete my circles which means I'm active more regularly. Not surprising it would have the same effect on other people. 
    fotoformatlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
     GeorgeBMac said:
    Basically that means that about half our $3 Trillion a year goes to treat coach potatoes sitting around eating pizza.
    As an ardent fan of pizza, it feels like you are disparaging it with your comment - not cool, man.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 11
     GeorgeBMac said:
    Basically that means that about half our $3 Trillion a year goes to treat coach potatoes sitting around eating pizza.
    As an ardent fan of pizza, it feels like you are disparaging it with your comment - not cool, man.
    You got that right!   Nailed it in fact!   

    Yes, I WAS disparaging it.   "Coach potatoes sitting around eating pizza" are bankrupting the country -- paying to treat the chronic illnesses that result from their lifestyle.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Let’s realize that the patients that choose to purchase the Apple Watch are self selecting themselves into a healthier category. In other words, they were probably going to be active anyway. ... if you were to force all patients to track their activity there is no guarantee that you would get the same results. 
    I agree!  Yes, they are likely to be self selecting -- and I agree that that has a profound influence on the results.

    But, there is another factor at play as well:
    Every year millions of people vow to begin living a healthy lifestyle:  Eat better, move more and lose weight.   And, a short time later end up back on the coach eating pizza.

    The truth is that converting from an unhealthy lifestyle in a culture that supports unhealthy lifestyles requires more than just a vow to do it.   It requires:
    -- Education. (This is what it is...)
    -- Training (This is how to do it)
    -- Ongoing support (This is how to deal with the obstacles)

    Few people actually understand what a healthy diet is -- and instead get internet advice on kook diets.
    And, few Americans have a good understanding of exercise -- playing softball is not exercise!.
    So, they dive into it head first, do it wrong, get discouraged and quit.

    One thing the Apple Watch does is to support starting gradually with a variety of different types of exercise and then supporting consistency in the ongoing struggle to keep it up.  And, by all reports, it seems to be effective.

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