The National Healthy Living Platform: Carrot Rewards was launched today by the Federal Minister of Health, Rona Ambrose, with the Government of British Columbia’s Minister of Health, Terry Lake and Andreas Souvaliotis, Founder and CEO of Social Change Rewards.
The Government of Canada is investing $5 million in this project, and the Government of British Columbia is providing $2.5 million in funding to help create, implement and promote the new app. This project has already received initial commitments of over $15 million in total funding from governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector over a five year period.
The Government of Canada is partnering with the Government of British Columbia, Social Change Rewards, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Association and YMCA Canada to create the National Healthy Living Platform: Carrot Rewards app. The program will be launched first in British Columbia this fall, and then will expand to other provinces and territories in the future.
Social Change Rewards will develop Carrot Rewards, an online app, which will use incentives to reward Canadians for making healthy lifestyle decisions. Canadians will be able to download the Carrot Rewards app, which will be available in the fall, and receive their choice of loyalty points for engaging in specific health promotion activities that target the common risk factors associated with maintaining healthy weights and combating chronic diseases. Each time participants complete an activity they will receive points and will be further rewarded for completing follow-up assessments on an annual basis or other ongoing activities.
An existing program supported by the federal government through a partnership with the YMCA has shown that people engaged in a rewards program increased their physical activity 110% and were active 2.8 times per week, up from 1.3 times per week. These types of programs have a track record of producing results that increase healthy behaviours, reducing the burden of cost on the health system for chronic disease.
Today’s announcement further supports the commitment by the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia for new, health-driven innovations. Carrot Rewards is another important initiative under the federal multi-sectoral partnerships approach to promote healthy living, and is another tool to add to the Healthy Families BC strategy, which focuses on improving the health and wellness of British Columbians through programs aimed at decreasing tobacco use, increasing opportunities for physical activity, supporting healthy eating, and promoting healthy weights.
This is one of many partnerships made under the Government of Canada’s Multi-Sectoral Partnership Approach to Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, which invests $20 million per year in projects that focus on addressing common risk factors, such as unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and smoking, to prevent chronic disease.
Other projects include The Play Exchange, a national challenge to encourage active living in Canada, the FIFA 11+ and Movement Preparation soccer injury prevention program and the RBC and ParticipACTION Learn to Play Project, a national program aimed at improving physical literacy among Canada's children and youth.
Terry Lake, Minister of Health, Government of British Columbia ─
“We’re making it rewarding for British Columbians to pay attention to their health. It’s so easy—by downloading the new innovative app and making small, sustainable lifestyle changes, you’re getting points that take you on the path to better health,” said BC Health Minister Terry Lake. “Small steps can reap big rewards, and one of the best ways to prevent chronic disease is to be physically active and learn healthy behaviours.”
The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health ─
“Using leading-edge technology to encourage Canadians to make healthier lifestyle choices is an excellent opportunity for the Government of Canada to work with provincial governments, Canadian businesses and social entrepreneurs to prevent chronic diseases. We are proud to be partnering with the Government of British Columbia and Social Change Rewards to launch the National Healthy Living Platform: Carrot Rewards.”
Andreas Souvaliotis, founder & CEO, Social Change Rewards ─
"Social Change Rewards is proud to be joining hands with the Public Health Agency of Canada and British Columbia's Ministry of Health to build the world's first national wellness reward platform. Our unique partnership is another great Canadian example of global leadership in social innovation. Our Carrot Rewards platform will create compelling offers that will lead large population groups towards healthier and more responsible lifestyle choices and allow public sector agencies to maximize the impact of their health promotion programs.”
Marc Mitchell, PhD (c) ACSM clinical exercise physiologist, University of Toronto, doctoral candidate, UHN Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program (Toronto Rehab), Cardiac Rehabilitation Supervisor ─
"A growing evidence base suggests that breaking complex health behaviours into simple tasks, and rewarding people to do those tasks, can "nudge" Canadians toward healthier living. Rewards-based programs have significantly improved health behaviours in the past and this program offers an exciting opportunity to encourage Canadians to make healthier choices, while tracking progress."
Scott Haldane, president and CEO of YMCA Canada ─
“YMCA Canada views this partnership as a tremendous opportunity to reach even more Canadians with our message about the importance of active, healthy living. We are delighted to join our health partners and Social Change Rewards in this innovative approach to rewarding healthy lifestyles.”
David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation ─
“We are proud to participate in this world-first initiative. This new platform is a game changer for health promotion. It will have a tangible impact on the health of Canadians, and aligns with our mission to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery.”
Rick Blickstead, president and CEO of the Canadian Diabetes Association ─
“We are pleased to be a founding partner in what is truly an innovative approach to improving the health and wellness of Canadians.”
- More Canadians than ever are living with chronic diseases – four out of five are at risk of developing a chronic disease.
- A large number of factors, such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and tobacco use can be reduced to prevent and delay the start of chronic disease.
- This project is the first co-funded investment with a province or territory under the Public Health Agency of Canada’s transformative healthy living and chronic disease prevention multi-sectoral partnership approach.
- In the next five years, National Healthy Living Platform: Carrot Rewards expects to expand to other provinces and territories to reach millions of Canadians, encouraging them to participate in a variety of healthy living interventions that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Social Change Rewards: http://www.socialchangerewards.com/
Government of Canada Year of Sport 2015: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1414514004147
Carrot Rewards Video: http://www.socialchangerewards.com/carrotrewards/
A backgrounder follows.