NEW YORK, Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- To further research and best practices to ultimately improve health, The Vitality Institute, a global health think tank focused on reducing chronic disease risk, is collaborating with the University of Pennsylvania, known for their leadership in applying behavioral economic approaches to improve rates for tobacco cessation, patient medication adherence and weight control.
"Poor diet, tobacco use and inadequate physical activity are negatively impacting not only our health, but the productivity of our workforce and the ability of U.S. businesses to compete in a global market," Derek Yach, SVP, The Vitality Group and Executive Director of The Vitality Institute. "We look forward to working with the University of Pennsylvania to develop new approaches to drive change in health promotion, leading to disease prevention, improved health and reduced medical costs for individuals, businesses and society."
This is the first Global Center of Excellence sponsored by the recently established Vitality Institute. The team will work to develop and test innovative solutions to reduce major risks for chronic diseases, leveraging the global expertise of both organizations to create new approaches that can be used more broadly to improve health and health behavior. Governed by a small committee representing Vitality and the University, the first three areas of focus are weight loss, smoking cessation, and medication adherence.
"Behavioral economics has the potential to transform health interventions," said Kevin Volpp, Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Leonard Davis Institute, Co-Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Innovations, and Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Health Care Management at the Wharton School. "We can design more effective approaches to help people get healthier by better understanding how people's emotions and thoughts affect their decisions."
Volpp is also a member of The Vitality Institute Commission, a multi-stakeholder group that includes experts from academic, health care, health policy, government, and corporate organizations.
The Vitality Group is a member of Discovery Ltd., offering the incentive-based wellness program to employers as part of their benefits program. With a foundation based on actuarial science and behavioral economic theory, Vitality encourages changes in lifestyle that reduce health care costs, both in the short run and long term, by rewarding members for addressing their specific health issues. Vitality wellness programs serve companies in a wide range of sizes and industries, improving individuals' health and wellbeing as well as employers' bottom lines.
The Vitality Institute, a global health think tank focused on reducing chronic disease risk, was established this spring. To join the conversation on Twitter, follow The Vitality Institute @VitalityInst.
SOURCE The Vitality Institute