Australian health firm says Apple Watch makes people 35% more active

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Australia's AIA Health says that giving away an Apple Watch to people who hit certain fitness goals, resulted in an average 35% rise in activity for its users.

In 2020, the AIA Health insurance company introduced Apple Watch to its Vitality program. Members who chose to sign up, would get an Apple Watch that was free so long as they continued to meet specific health goals set for them.

"When comparing physical activity in 2019 and 2020, for those who took up AIA Vitality's Apple Watch Benefit last year, we have seen activity increase by 35% on average year on year," says AIA in a new report. "The age group with the most significant improvement in physical activity was those 50 years and older, who saw a 51% increase year on year."

"The rich health and wellbeing insights Apple Watch users gain," said the company, "combined with the behavioural principle of 'loss aversion' that has been built into this AIA Vitality benefit, led to the significant increases in activity levels."

AIA examined the results of 1,198 of its members. To make the results comparable, those surveyed had to both have opted-in to the Apple Watch program, and been full AIA members throughout 2019.

Average physical activity

The company also used data from the previous year to rule out the chances of a fluke result.

"Physical activity remained consistent at the original increased level seen linked to the Active Benefit construct across 2018-19," says the firm, "then increased significantly when the Apple Watch Benefit was introduced in 2020."

"AIA Vitality members physical activity behaviour was reasonably consistent for two years prior to the introduction of the Apple Watch Benefit," it continues, "[its] introduction genuinely drove members that opted-in to the benefit to increase their physical activity - rather than 2020 being an anomaly."