NICE group backs health rewards

People should be given incentives to change their unhealthy lifestyles, according to a NICE committee.

NICE supports giving people incentives to change their unhealthy lifestyle
NICE supports giving people incentives to change their unhealthy lifestyle

The institute's Citizens Council, comprising members of the public, backed incentive schemes to boost public health. Schemes offering supermarket vouchers to pregnant women to stop smoking, rewards for losing weight, and giving children toys for eating fruit and vegetables have been piloted.

Two-thirds of the citizen group backed the incentives, but said they should not be exchangeable for alcohol or tobacco. Additional caveats included only offering incentives to those committed to changing behaviour, offering them only as a last resort, and subject to analysis of effectiveness.

NICE chairman Sir Michael Rawlins said: 'Most of the council has voted in favour, but this clearly remains a divisive issue.'

Members of the public and interested parties can submit comments on a NICE report until January.

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