The average life expectancy in South Africa is 63, but it changes dramatically if you are a Discovery Vitality member.
This was revealed by Akash Dowra, head of technical marketing and client insights at Discovery Bank, who spoke at the 2019 BusinessTech FinTech Conference.
Dowra said there are 4 main risk factors which cause major diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease – physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, smoking, and excessive alcohol.
While most people are aware of the risks associated with these unhealthy habits, they do not easily change their lifestyle to live healthier lives.
There are three main reasons why people make choices which are not in their best interest:
- Overconfidence, where people think their health or driving is much better than what it actually is.
- Miscalculation, where people put a much higher value on high-risk events which are unlikely to occur (like a shark attack).
- Not worrying about the future, where people discount decisions which will help them far in the future in preference of immediate rewards.
To solve the problem of poor health choices, Discovery built its Vitality system to provide members with immediate rewards for good behaviour.
The Vitality rewards programme has been extremely effective in helping people to live healthier lives.
Many people who join the programme stop smoking, start to eat healthier, and increase their physical activity.
The positive impact of the Vitality programme is clearly illustrated by the life expectancy of Vitality members.
While the average age in South Africa is 63, it increases to 81 for Vitality members. It increases even further for Vitality Gold and Diamond status members, which have a life expectancy of 87.
The chart below shows how Discovery Vitality members’ life expectancy compare with other South Africans and that in other countries.