Innovative strategies targeting obesity and non-communicable diseases in South Africa: what can we learn from the private healthcare sector?

Lambert, E. V. and Kolbe-Alexander, T. L. (2013) Innovative strategies targeting obesity and non-communicable diseases in South Africa: what can we learn from the private healthcare sector? Obesity Reviews, 14 (Suppl. 2). pp. 141-149. ISSN 1467-7881

Abstract

Over 50% of South African adult women and 30% of adult men are either overweight or obese, and nearly half of all adults are insufficiently active, with major increases in obesity-associated healthcare expenditures since 1980, a high proportion of which are paid by private health insurance. In this paper, we describe the Vitality programme, an incentivized health promotion programme from South Africa’s largest private health insurer, Discovery Health, with over 2.5 million beneficiaries. Wellness activities of the programme include health risk assessments, subsidized gym memberships and smoking cessation or weight loss programmes with many incentives, including cash back on purchases of healthy foods. This incentive-based programme has shown a significant relationship between levels of engagement in wellness activities, in particular increasing participation
in fitness-related activities, with lower healthcare expenditure and an increase in the overall ratio of healthy foods to total food purchases. This programme demonstrates that incentives may reduce the barriers for entry into care, increase preventive screening and increase engagement in healthy behaviours for prevention and management of obesity. This ‘carrots versus sticks’ approach may have implications for public health policy even in lower- and middle-income settings and underserved communities.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health, Nursing and Midwifery
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2017 04:18
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2017 00:16
Uncontrolled Keywords: financial incentives, health insurance, lower- and middle-income countries, wellness programmes
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1111/obr.12094
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/30857

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