In light of Denmark’s newly instituted “fat tax”, wherein tax rates will correspond with the fat percentage of products, we spend some time analyzing the many theories and methods of incentivizing health. Products like Endomondo exist because staying healthy is not always easy, and incentives are clearly needed, but how best to implement them?
We live in a busy time, which often makes it hard to find the time and motivation to stay healthy. Also, many of us spend our days in front of monitors and sitting by a desk, which makes a concerted health effort even more important. Today, what is needed is an effective, productive health regimen that is rewarding to adhere to. Endomondo aims to help users create good habits and maintain them. For that, incentives must be put in place.
Overall, when it comes to incentivizing, we believe that fun and social interactions are the best motivational forces. We believe that focusing on positive reinforcement ultimately creates a more worthwhile health experience, more so than focusing on punishment or economic incentives. Now, we are not saying that the fat tax is a bad idea, it’s just not the spirit with which we approach health.
We also don’t think taxing fat is going to do the trick alone. It is important to encourage people to change behavior because they really want to, not just because it hurts their wallets not to. Health is a marathon, not a sprint, and we believe that setting up healthy social communities built on mutual support and fun is a more lasting solution.
We listen to the feedback we receive, and our users often share with us the motivation they are able to find by comparing their performance to their past performances or to those of their friends. With this feedback against which to measure themselves, and with the support of their peers who inspire them through peptalks, and through sharing their own workouts, users find that staying healthy can be fun and social, and devoid of all the guilt and loneliness of other approaches.
Ultimately it is the guilt that negative incentives utilize that we believe contributes to a health culture that often ignores how much fun staying in shape can be. It can be communal and rewarding, and we do our best to keep it that way.