Lisburn is to be the first city in the UK to pilot a new medical research project to investigate how financial incentives influence workplace physical activity.
The scheme developed by Queen’s University uses wireless sensing technology to monitor and reward physical activity, and was unveiled in the city by the Health Minister and the Chief Medical Officer.
Over 1,300 public sector employees who work in the Lisburn area are now being given the chance to take part in the study.
The Physical Activity Loyalty scheme which rewards users’ “ground miles” with incentives has been launched by researchers at the Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast led by Professor Frank Kee.
According to a government report by Dame Carol Black in 2008, improving the wellbeing of the workforce by getting them more active will benefit not only their own health but is also likely to improve a company’s productivity and the economy as a whole.
If the scheme is effective, it can be rolled out on a wider scale across Northern Ireland for both the private and public sector.
Lisburn City Council Mayor, Councillor Andrew Ewing said that he was delighted that Lisburn had been chosen to pilot the new scheme.
He added: “There is so much evidence linking our overall health and well-being to physical activity and lifestyle and I hope that this scheme will encourage more people to make changes, however small, in their lifestyles to become more fit and active.”
Professor Frank Kee said: “We are encouraging as many people as possible to take part in this study which we hope will have important findings for NI as a whole.”