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John Hancock first U.S. life insurer to reward consumers for healthy eating

Staff writer |
John Hancock Insurance announced an expansion of its Vitality solution with the addition of the HealthyFood program.

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Now, John Hancock Vitality policyholders can earn rewards for the healthy food choices they make every day with real-time discounts and/or cash-back up to $600 a year on their grocery bills, and program points that lead to savings on their annual premiums - as much as 15 percent.

First introduced one year ago, the John Hancock Vitality solution reinvented the life insurance experience to connect long-term health to financial well-being.

The program provides savings and rewards to policyholders who complete health-related activities like exercising, getting an annual health screening or receiving a flu shot.

Individuals have the option to track their physical activity with smartphone apps and devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit.

The Vitality HealthyFood component takes the program a step further by rewarding policyholders for purchasing healthy food at any of the 16,000 participating stores nationwide, including Walmart and other major grocery chains in the NutriSavings network.

Policyholders also gain nutritional information and guidance that will help them adopt healthier eating habits through a new collaboration with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

In the U.S., poor diet accounts for one out of four deaths (26%) or nearly 700,000 deaths each year. More than two-thirds of American adults age 20 and older are overweight or obese, as are 32 percent of children, according to the American Heart Association.

Adopting a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help many Americans take control of their health and prevent heart disease and other chronic conditions.

Similar programs abroad have been successful in influencing consumers to choose healthier foods. In South Africa, where the HealthyFood benefit was developed by Discovery Insurance, research has shown that offering cash-back can change consumer purchasing behaviors.

When offered discounts of 10 percent and 25 percent for healthy foods, consumers increased the amount of money they spent on healthy food by 6 percent and 9.3 percent; increased the amount of fruit and vegetables they bought by 5.7 percent and 8.5 percent; and decreased the amount of less-healthy foods purchased by 5.6 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.

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