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Israelis are getting fit and making money doing it

With an eye on wellness, hospitals, unions and companies are adopting a new app that converts steps into 'coins' to be redeemed in stores and restaurants; its creators says the program also incentivizes a wide variety of other healthy habits

Maya Margit/The Media Line |
Published: 06.06.21 , 16:38
As malnutrition and obesity rates skyrocket around the world, an Israeli mobile app is encouraging people to prioritize their health by paying them to walk.
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  • Yuvital (formerly UVTAL) Health’s flagship app Rumble converts steps users take into coins that can then be redeemed in order to purchase products or get discounts at stores and restaurants.
    More than 800,000 Israelis use the app to stay in shape and that number is quickly growing each month, says Yuvital Health’s CEO and co-founder Alon Silberberg.
    “By the end of the year we’re going to hit 1.3 million members, not including those outside of Israel,” Silberberg says.
    “We are creating and developing a platform that helps us to incentivize positive behaviors within specific populations.”
    Founded in 2017, Yuvital Health is based in the central Israeli city of Yavne. The company is named after Yuval Dagan and Tal Yifrach, two fallen IDF soldiers who served under Silberberg in the 2014 Gaza war.
    While Rumble is currently only available in Israel, Silberberg and his fellow Yuvital co-founders Lior Klibansky and Yaron Levi are hoping to launch it in Canada and the United States by the end of the year.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    The Rumble app
    The Rumble app
    The Rumble app
    (Photo: The Media Line)
    According to Silberberg, the app mainly has been deployed in three industries: retail, corporate wellness and digital health. In the corporate sphere, companies are using the app to motivate their employees to maintain a healthier and more active lifestyle.
    “We can save a lot of money by reducing health care costs and by improving employee retention, productivity and so on,” he says. “You can convert 1,000 steps into 1 health coin and 1 health coin is equal to roughly 1 NIS ($0.31).
    Those coins can then be exchanged for gifts, discounts and other benefits with participating retail partners, similar to a credit card rewards program. The amount that one can earn might not sound like a lot at first, but it adds up.
    “By the end of this year we’re going to be somewhere between 120-150 million NIS ($36.9-46.1 million) that was spent using our coins,” Silberberg says.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    לכתבה! קשיש הליכה נורדית
    לכתבה! קשיש הליכה נורדית
    Israelis walking for exercise
    (Photo: Hagit Sadeh)
    The company is working with the Histadrut Labor Federation, insurance companies, hospitals and Clalit, Israel’s largest HMO.
    Rumble can also be integrated into a variety of wearable devices.
    It is not the only app that pays its users to exercise. In fact, a growing number of tech companies have ventured into the health and wellness incentives market in recent years.
    “We’re swimming in the same pool but each one of us is a little bit different,” Silberberg says, asserting that Rumble’s approach was more holistic in nature because it focuses on incentivizing a wide variety of healthy habits outside of walking, such as content consumption, drinking, mindfulness and going to the gym.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    הולמס פלייס רמת גן
    הולמס פלייס רמת גן
    Working out a a gym in Ramat Gan
    However, the app does not only use financial incentives to encourage healthy habits. It also relies on behavioral psychology in the form of goal-setting and encouraging users to compete against friends, loved ones and co-workers.
    Yaron Levi, chief architect and co-founder of Yuvital Health, says that the company’s strength more specifically lies in its use of the cloud-based technologies and its ability to garner data-driven insights into its users.
    “We use cutting-edge technologies to make this platform possible,” Levi says.
    “These technologies allow us to give users a really great experience.”
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