Health and life insurance provider Vitality has today pledged to make 100 million people 20% more active by 2025 after independent research showed its shared value insurance model combined with Apple Watch produced sustained increases in members’ physical activity.

Results of a landmark behaviour change study by independent research instituteRAND Europe, showed an average 34% increase in activity levels – equating to 4.8 days a month – for participants using Vitality Active Rewards with Apple Watch, compared to those without the incentives.

The study is believed to be the largest behaviour tech study based on verified data to date and examined the behaviours of over 400,000 people in the UK, US and South Africa.

Discovery chief executive and Vitality founder Adrian Gore said the significance for individuals, the insurance industry and wider society was profound.

‘For more than 20 years, Vitality has taken a shared-value approach to health improvement by creating interventions that change people’s behaviour for the better,’ he said. ‘Our innovative use of Apple Watch opens the way to a proper understanding of how people can be incentivised to live fitter and healthier lives – and how we are leading the way in transforming how people are insured. That’s why we have committed to helping even more people become active and are encouraged by the support of the World Health Organization as this aligns with their Global Action Plan on Physical Activity. We believe the impact will be substantial and far-reaching.’

The study found that activity levels increased across the full spectrum of participants, regardless of health status, age or gender. South Africa saw the largest increase in high-intensity activity days of 71%, followed by the US at 52%, and 37% in the UK. Vitality estimates that within a year, participants with Active Rewards with Apple Watch achieved numerous health benefits, including improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiorespiratory fitness along with lowered healthcare costs.