Bill of health: Apple, Singapore govt team up for major fitness drive

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The LumiHealth project includes an in-app 'adventure' to motivate users.

Health is a universal right, and so should be access to technology. Apple and the government of Singapore are cooperating to provide just that.

The two parties announced the launch of LumiHealth, a personalised programme that encourages well-being and healthy behaviours using the Apple Watch, in a bid not just to spread awareness on how important it is to keep in shape in these times, but also get everyone actively involved.

The initiative is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Apple is confident that such a programme with a country like Singapore will be a springboard for other partnerships elsewhere in the world.

The LumiHealth project, designed by the Health Promotion Board (HPB), is part of the efforts of Singapore - long known to be an early adopter of the latest technology - to build a society within the principles of its Smart Nation initiative.

The HPB in itself is already a vanguard for well-being. One of its current programmes is 'Stay Well to Stay Strong', which encourages everyone to keep fit and active. Among the entity's primary focuses are increased attention on preventive health, encouraging healthier lifestyle choices and engaging different segments of society.

This engagement, in turn, will be able to integrate technology and behavioural insights, as well as personalisation for better health outcomes.

All users need to do is use an Apple Watch and download the LumiHealth app, which is currently available for pre-order. The programme will go live in late-October.

Apple unveiled its latest Watch Series 6 line-up, plus a budget-friendly Watch SE, at a virtual event on Tuesday. The latter - while lower-specced, carries the same key health features as its higher-end counterpart - is aimed at bringing Apple's well-being technologies to an even wider user base.

Singapore has one of the highest GDPs in the world, one of the fastest Internet connections anywhere and one of the highest life expectancies.

Bill of health: Apple, Singapore govt team up for major fitness drive (KT25915916.PNG)

It also has one of the most robust health infrastructures globally - and this is extended in LumiHealth: The app has features such as reminders to go for immunisations and health screenings, as well as to participate in wellness challenges.

"Singapore has one of the world's leading healthcare systems and we are thrilled to be partnering with them to incorporate Apple Watch and LumiHealth into their holistic approach to well-being," Apple COO Jeff Williams said.

"Apple Watch has already helped millions of our customers manage their activity levels to improve their health, and we look forward to applying our expertise here in the same privacy-friendly way that distinguishes all Apple products and services."

According to the Apple Newsroom, LumiHealth is the culmination of a two-year process that started with Singapore soliciting proposals from international healthcare and technology firms on ways to enrich the lives and health of the nation's population.

Then the Covid-19 came along, all the more requiring to be more responsible when it comes to matters of health. While the pandemic did indeed crush economies everywhere, the health-is-wealth philosophy became even more crucial - no matter what the cost.

"Even as all of us around the world are dealing with the challenges of Covid-19, we must keep investing in our future. And there is no better investment than in our own personal health," said Heng Swee Keat, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister.

"This partnership between Singapore and Apple will enable Singaporeans to lead healthier lives, but equally important, it will contribute valuable insights to improving the health of people all over the world."

The city-state is also one of Apple's key markets in Asia. Last week, it opened its 'most ambitious' retail project, Apple Marina Bay Sands, a spherical 'floating' store that is the first of its kind with an all-glass dome. It is Apple's third store in Singapore in just three years.

Everyone's invited 

LumiHealth is a voluntary programme. It presents challenges spanning across several activities, from walking to running, cycling to swimming and even for people of determination.

It also provides useful insights related to nutrition, sleep and mindfulness, with tips in an easy-to-navigate interface.

Bill of health: Apple, Singapore govt team up for major fitness drive (KT25914916.PNG)

The rewards aren't limited to well-being, either: Over the course of the programme, participants will be able to receive up to S$380 (approximately Dh1,025), which they can spend in various establishments, including food and health shops.

As always, all data is guaranteed secure: Participants will be informed when and why data is collected and they can opt out at any time they wish. Information is gathered only for the purposes of the programme and regular, stringent testings and reviews will be made to ensure the overall system's integrity.

And while indeed a serious initiative, LumiHealth throws in something fun: Within the app is a so-called 'intergalactic explorer', which users can guide through adventures based on their age, gender and weight.

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