Discovery Vitality has found Cape Town to be the most active city in South Africa, with the best drivers to boot.
This is according to the Road to a Healthier South Africa, released by Discovery Vitality, that presents the latest insights on the physical activity levels and driving behaviour of over half a million Vitality members in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.
Coinciding with the release of data on the various cities and their respective populations activitíes and driving behaviour, Vitality announced that the programme would be opening to the entire country with a view to getting South Africa moving and driving better
Head of Vitality Wellness, Dr Craig Nossel, said: "There are two main behaviours causing significant illness and deaths among South Africans. One, how we drive. Two, how much we move."
Nossel said an environment that encourages healthier lifestyles and better driving needs to be created and vitality aims to do just that over the next 10 weeks with Vitality Open – by making Vitality Active Rewards available to all South Africans for the first time.
Head of the Trauma Unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Professor Sebastian van As, said: " I could quote many stats on road accidents. They all boil down to one chilling fact: almost 90% are caused by bad driving behaviour - simple. We can’t control the behaviour of other road users, but we can choose our own behaviour. This is where we must start if we want a safer, healthier South Africa."
From data collected over 2016, 2017 and 2018, Cape Town is tops in physical activity and driving behaviours across South African cities, this by tracking the most gym visits, steps and completed outdoor activities.
The data showed that in physical activity, Pretoria and Johannesburg a close second and third place, followed by Durban and Port Elizabeth, leaving Bloemfontein tracking the lowest numbers of gym visits, steps and outdoor activities.
"When it comes to better driving, Durban fares the worst nationally – with their driving behaviour measuring 11% below the winning city, Cape Town. Cape Town is followed in order by Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria," Discovery Vitality said.
On the physical activity statistics, cardiologist and president-elect of the South African Heart Association, Dr David Jankelow, said: "Inactivity has not improved since 2001. In addition to being important in disease prevention, movement is also key to healing. Cardiac patients, for example, used to be kept immobile for a long time. Today, we know that getting them active is probably the most important thing. Exercise is a surprisingly simple antidote to lifestyle-related illnesses. It may, in fact, be more important than medicine when it comes to sustaining good health."
Globally South Africa is one of the most inactive countries, below Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Malaysia, and it is not much better when it comes to driving, as South African roads rank among the most dangerous in the world, with a death toll of 22.5 for every 100,000 people.
"The answer to helping us re-shape our environment and our behaviour is technology. Advances in technology have influenced many aspects of how we get active and drive. Technology could also be one of the best motivators to help us achieve the change in behaviour that we so desperately need," said Discovery Vitality.
Behavioural economics expert and Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University, Dan Ariely, confirmed one of the main lessons in behavioural economics is that the environment matters.
"If people know they should eat better, exercise more, take their medicine on time or drive safely, but cannot change their environment to support this, the odds are their behaviour will not change. People can now use their phones as a reminder and to act as a nudge tool at the moment of temptation, which increases the odds of improving behaviour. This is why I am a big fan of technology to help shape people’s environments," said Ariely.
Technology has been instrumental to the evolution of Vitality’s application of behavioural science, which now integrates telematics into the Vitality Active Rewards app to track, guide and incentivise improvements in both exercise and driving behaviour in addition to giving weekly rewards.
- African News Agency (ANA)