Wulfrunians took close to an incredible 8 BILLION steps when they participated in the Better Health: Rewards pilot held in Wolverhampton earlier this year – covering the equivalent of nearly 4 million miles.

The programme, led by the Department of Health and Social Care's Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, was designed to test whether offering adults financial rewards would encourage them to eat better and to increase their physical activity levels.
Over 28,000 residents signed up to the initiative, with the final set of weekly challenges being completed last month.
Initial figures show participants walked nearly 8 billion steps, completed just under 25 million minutes of exercise and enjoyed close to half a million portions of fruit and vegetables.
Everyone taking part in the pilot was able to earn points for completing challenges, like moving more, choosing healthier snacks or cutting down on fried food. 
Participants were able to claim at least £40 worth of rewards through completing in app tasks, such as diet surveys or syncing their fitness tracker. These rewards could be redeemed against major retailers, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, gyms or cinemas, or family days out. 
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing, said: “We were delighted to work with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to deliver the innovative Better Health: Rewards programme here in Wolverhampton.
“It was great that so many residents signed up to be part of the pilot, which was available exclusively to residents in Wolverhampton, and amazing to see the impact it has had and the tangible benefits it has brought to those taking part.
“Just looking at the data relating to physical activity, we can see that participants completed nearly 8 billion steps. 
“The Proclaimers sang that they would walk 500 miles, but we’ve gone much, much further than that – one million steps is generally reckoned to be around 500 miles, and this means that our residents have walked the equivalent of nearly 4 million miles in total! 
“What is also great to see is that participants were clearly very keen to take part in the programme because we had a really good retention rate, with a high proportion of those who signed up going on to complete their full 20 weeks of challenges. 
“We know that the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is now carrying out a detailed evaluation of Better Health: Rewards and we look forward to reading their findings in due course. 
“In the meantime, I’d encourage everyone to continue making the healthier lifestyle choices they have developed as a result of taking part in the programme. It was all about making small changes that can make a big difference so, if you’ve started walking more, doing more exercise, or eating more healthily, please keep it up!”
Niginder Kaur, who took part in the programme, said: “Better Health: Rewards has been a game changer for me. It’s really encouraged me to look at my health and wellbeing, do a bit more exercise and watch exactly what I was eating.
“I’d got myself into a little bit of a rut where you keep making excuses and think, you know what, let’s leave it for today. It’s also always a little more difficult as you get older and so the timing of Better Health Rewards was really good for me.
“I’ve lost a little bit of weight, I’ve started toning up, I’m doing a lot more walking and I’ve joined WV Active so I’m doing a bit more swimming. And the great thing was I was able to build up the points and get rewards so as a result I got myself a smoothie maker, which has helped even more!”

Health Minister Andrea Leadsom said: “My thanks and congratulations go to every single Wulfrunian who took part in our pioneering trial. Each one of you has helped us explore new ways of harnessing technology to ensure people live healthier, happier, and longer lives.
“Alongside a £1 million equipment upgrade at the council’s 3 WV Active leisure centres and a free activity programme for children and young people, Wolverhampton is leading the way when it comes to innovative methods of supporting people's health and wellbeing. 
“On a national scale, the Government continues to support people to make healthier choices, including a wide range of fantastic free apps like the Food Scanner app, Couch to 5K, and Active 10.”
An independent evaluation led by the Behavioural Insights team is due to be published in Spring 2024. The Government will examine the results of this evaluation closely to consider how technology and incentivisation could be used in future to improve health.