Obesity has enormous impacts on health and quality of life, and 64 percent of Chileans over 15 years old are either overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk of chronic conditions, reduces the capacity to do and enjoy physical activity, and is linked to chronic pain and disability. Obese mothers show higher risk of having obese children, and 80 percent of obese children will become obese adults. Lower socioeconomic groups experience more obesity.
Competition has proved a powerful incentive to promote behavior change in young people, and Santiago is one of the first cities to embrace competition to improve public health outcomes. The city will create Juntos Santiago, a competition where neighborhood groups work together to combat childhood obesity and earn points they can convert to funding for local infrastructure improvements, such as new parks and playgrounds.
Santiago has been a national leader in implementing programs to fight chronic diseases and improve public health. Past successes include a network of healthy canteens in public schools, a chain of freshly squeezed citrus juice carts, and a health-promoting playground for kids under 5 years of age. The incentive structure is inspired by existing systems used in retail and by airlines, and also from the evidence on conditional cash and in-kind transfers in Latin America.
Words from Santiago
“Juntos Santiago is a gamiﬁcation strategy to mobilize neighborhoods around health. The focus is on collective action and the incentive system will be heavily tailored to foster collaboration.”