Gym of an idea as NHS pedals healthy towns trial

Family Flexing Their Muscles Together

Families could get discounts on their supermarket shop, cut-price sports gear and free cinema tickets for hitting step count targets under a new NHS scheme.

The proposal, aimed at cutting the pressure on the health service, will see users of an app rewarded for walking, NHS England said.

Developers will also be asked to provide free bikes with new houses and flats to cut car use and encourage cycling.

The scheme will be trialled in Halton Lea, Cheshire, at one of 10 housing developments which make up the NHS Healthy New Towns programme.

The programme, launched last year, puts "good health at the heart of urban design and planning" and aims to "reduce pressure on the NHS by rethinking our lifestyles and the way health services are delivered", NHS England said.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the plans "point the way" for the communities of the future.

Officials overseeing the proposals are said to be looking at existing schemes where health insurance customers are rewarded with 25% off their weekly shop if they hit monthly exercise targets, the Daily Telegraph said.

They are also considering handing out free cinema tickets and discounts on sports gear and gym memberships as incentives for exercise, the newspaper said.

Mr Stevens said: "If there's to be a much-needed wave of new house building across England, let's 'design-in' health from the start.

"These practical designs for Halton point the way, uniting young and old in in thinking through the sort of communities we want for the future.

"The NHS makes no apologies for weighing in with good ideas on how the how the built environment can encourage healthy towns and supportive neighbourhoods."

The proposal, put forward by London-based planning consultancy Citiesmode, was the winning entry of a design competition for the development at Halton Lea.

The final plans and delivery strategy will be submitted in January 2018.

Read Full Story