550 000 South Africans get active and drive better in the Vitality Open


Discovery Vitality has released the results of its 10-week public campaign, the Vitality Open, which was aimed at getting South Africans to exercise more and improve their driving behaviour. Dinesh Govender, Vitality's Chief Executive Officer, reflects on the success of this initiative.

What does it take to motivate people to get active and drive better?

"We know there are two main behaviours causing significant illness and death among South Africans - physical inactivity, and how we drive," says Dinesh Govender, Vitality's Chief Executive Officer. "Globally, more than five million people die prematurely as a result of sedentary lifestyles, and more than 1.25 million people die in road accidents every year. Through the Vitality Open, we wanted to create greater awareness for the need to change the behaviours that lead to road accidents and the rise in non-communicable diseases in South Africa."

The Vitality Open launched this year in September and gave all South Africans the opportunity to participate in Vitality - Discovery's science-based behavioural programme - whether they were Vitality members or not.

The Vitality Open encouraged participants to be more active and to drive more safely with personalised fitness and driving goals through the Discovery app. By reaching these goals, participants earned weekly rewards and entries into a grand prize draw for flights, fuel, gym membership, movies, concert tickets, smoothies, coffees, tyres, Uber trips, Nando’s, running shoes, HealthyFood and the latest iPhone for life. Winners of these prizes were announced on Monday, 10 December.

South Africans rose to the challenge - with staggering results

"The Vitality Open proved to be incredibly successful, especially considering the complexity associated with changing behaviour," Govender says.

More than 550 000 South Africans participated in the Vitality Open, increasing the number of Vitality Active Rewards participants by 25%.

New Vitality Open participants increased their physical activity by 34% over the 10 weeks.

Almost one third of new participants improved their driving substantially enough to significantly reduce their risk of accidents.

New participants increased their physical activity by 34% over the 10 weeks. 75 000 people participated in parkruns at venues across South Africa - a 24% increase.

Almost one third of new participants improved their driving substantially enough to significantly reduce their risk of accidents.

The positive results from the Vitality Open in South Africa are even more significant against the backdrop of a ground-breaking new behaviour-change study done by RAND Europe - which included Vitality Active Rewards participants in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa over a two-year period. The study found an average increase of 44% in activity levels of South African participants using Vitality Active Rewards with Apple Watch compared with those without Apple Watch as an incentive.

South Africans MoveToGive back to society

"We are thrilled with the results of the 10-week campaign and congratulate every person who took part to become more active and make our roads safer," Govender says. "The Vitality Open represented Discovery's shared-value model of developing and using our technologies and products to positively impact society."

"Another component of the Vitality Open that reflected this was MoveToGive. Instead of choosing a coffee, smoothie or other reward, Vitality Open participants had the opportunity to donate their rewards," Govender continues.

Thousands of participants contributed towards building a Dream Room at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital with Reach for a Dream. These rooms create a sanctuary for children with life-threatening illnesses.

The campaign also contributed over 42 000 meals for FoodForward SA, which works to reduce food wastage and recovers surplus food from farms, retailers and restaurants to distribute it to people in need.

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