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COVID-19 inspired "Fitness Passports" as an extreme measure against the most common death causes

Image credit: Taken from https://unsplash.com/photos/qS7fr07bljM and edited.

Juran Jul 24, 2021
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The idea is to develop the concept of Fitness Passports with the underlying system of health monitoring, promotion, and awards. According to your physical activity and healthy habits, you could get awarded for the benefit you bring to the state by taking care of yourself.

The introduction

COVID-19 changed things a lot. For the first time in history, people were forced to stay in their houses and obey the set of extreme quarantine measures to stay safe and help countries lower the incidence and death rates. But how deadly was this pandemic and how necessary and legally acceptable were the extreme measures are still subjects of discussion. By the Health System Tracker, COVID-19 currently stands in 7th place on the list of the most significant death causes and was undoubtedly the leading cause of death in certain moments of recent two years. If the nature of the periodic appearance of COVID-19 cases is taken into account, it still stands pretty high, but uncomparable to the causes of death such as heart disease, cancer, accidents, stroke, and others that exist for decades. What if other causes of death were taken as seriously as the COVID-19 was?

By closing restaurants, bars and canceling all public gatherings, along with total quarantines from time to time, countries were more or less efficient in reducing the incidence rates. Consequently, death rates were reduced, too. What if extreme measures to reduce the number of accidents, heart diseases, or strokes were implemented, inspired by the COVID-19 example? Would they be as efficient as the COVID-19 measures?

As the newest measure, countries implemented the certificates of the health status in terms of COVID-19 pandemics. If you test negative, get over a recent COVID-19 infection, or get vaccinated, you get a health certificate. With this certificate, which usually lasts from 3 days to few months, you can attend events, travel, and most importantly, get back to your normal life much faster. The international certificate which allows you to travel is called the " COVID-19 Passport" . While many people think it's just making things more complicated, I am sure it opened many new doors. One of them is described below and could potentially help us live healthier and longer!

The idea

My idea would be to reduce the rate of strokes, heart diseases, cancers, and all other health-related causes of death by motivating people to live healthier lives.

The concept of health certificates
I would implement the concept of health certificates, called "Fitness IDs" or "Passports", which would be a digital record of evidence of your healthy lifestyle. It would contain information about your gym subscriptions, sports club memberships, health-related projects, healthy initiatives, and even the receipts from the healthy food shops and markets. You would collect points for everything you do or attend that has a beneficial effect on your health. The points would appear or disappear on your account, depending on what activity did you do and when. For example, you would get points for an active gym membership, but they would significantly reduce when it expires. The points would not completely disappear because the effect of working out on your body was rather long-term. A similar principle would apply to the other point-awarding things, too.

The personal benefit
If people realize that by working out and eating healthy, they can, not only feel better and lose weight but also travel with 5% discount (or even more, if traveling to places famous for sports and healthy lifestyle), get coupons for their favorite foods, pay less for Netflix subscription, public transportation or pay less/eat more in fast food restaurants (because they do something to reduce the negative effect of it), they would feel more like doing it. The final consequence, hopefully, would be the reduction in the incidence rates of the "most popular" health-related causes of death.

Who would award you for this and why?
As many things that we pay are public and state-owned, the first and the toughest one to consider is the government. By simple math, we could calculate how much of the state's money can a person that lives a healthy lifestyle save by reducing hospital visits.
On the other hand, companies directly lose money when you don't work. If people took care of their health, they would be able to work more and help their company to save money. That extra money could be added to your salary as a "health bonus".

Important note
The concept would not punish you if you don't obey the rules but would allow you to do much more if you consider healthy living.


How could we make this measure much more extreme and motivating?
How could it be tested on small scale?
Who else could prospect from your healthy lifestyle and would be a good body to ask money from?
Would this make you live a healthier life?



Creative contributions

Not Maintaining Healthy Lifestyles should Reduce the Money gotten from Life Insurances

Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Jul 26, 2021
By committing suicide, someone with a life insurance could risk making their life insurance valid. When people cultivate habits that are deleterious to their health and could make them live shorter lives, the insurance companies usually overlook such "gradual suicides" even if they directly or indirectly lead to the death of the insured person. Insurance policies should be structured so that people who have habits that can shorten their life spans are paid less money for their life insurances. Drinking, smoking and not exercising regularly could reduce their insurance payments by small amounts. These policies should encourage healthier habits in the long run. This is an example of measures that encourage healthy living.
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Make it more accessible not tracked and forced

Michelle Christine Aug 28, 2021
Working out and playing certain sports used to be fun for me UNTIL I started learning about ideas like these. They were fun because they weren't required, and literally by definition "just for fun." Sure you can get everything down to a precise number but at what real cost? I'm all for making these things more ACCESSIBLE (reduced working hours required for a decent life, more local places to be able to drop in and play whatever game you like, affordable gym memberships, parks and safe walking paths) but not forced. I almost added creative in home exercise equipment to the list and realized it's much too similar to a hamster wheel. And we can do better. Make it available, keep many many many many many different options open, but don't let the data reduce us down to an experiment and take all of the joy out of living.

The anxiety mindset this would bring about to anyone who isn't completely oblivious to everything I'm not sure would outweight the physical health benefits. This should not exist (possibly ever) but definitely not before a much more serious discussion and agreement on irrevocable human rights and insurance/other profits.
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General comments

Juran4 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Darko Savic Thank you for the first feedback!

I know smokers will sometimes live much longer than "healthy" individuals. It's happening and we are still not sure why. But the similar principles can be applied to the COVID-19 cases. Some people exposed to the virus will never get sick, while the others, who stayed in quarantine for months, will get the disease and maybe die. That's still not the reason why you should stop vaccinating people or remove the safety measures, right? Also, your thoughts are exactly the reason why I wrote the Important note segment. I would not change the existing treatment of regular people. I would just award the ones who take care of their health. At the moment, events like concerts, parties, and fairs are completely banned in some countries and people who vaccinate are "awarded" the ability to attend those. It's a bit different, but I hope you understand where I'm going.

Concerning the medical insurance companies, they already do this. In my insurance company, they charge approx. 6, 9, or 18 euros/month, depending on if you are <40, <60, or >60 years old, respectively. Also, when you sign up, they ask you questions like "do you smoke", "how often do you visit hospitals", etc. Nobody asks you if you do sports or eat healthily. The idea I suggested would offer people get discounts based on their healthy lifestyle, what they do not get now.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 months ago
I like the idea very much! Just one concern: Definitions of health and disease are very vague. For example, a person who is smoking since their twenties can live well up to over a hundred without any disease although smoking shows a significant correlation with lung cancer. Therefore, I think punishments should not be a part of the equation since what is healthy and what is not strictly distinct.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 months ago
One downside I could imagine is when medical insurance companies get ahold of the data and start charging higher premiums to people who aren't healthy and are more likely to require medical help.
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