Fitbit, HPB clarify health trackers giveaway

US firm, not Govt, giving away the devices; clarification follows incorrect reports

Wearables brand Fitbit has set up a partnership with the Health Promotion Board to take part in the Live Healthy SG programme.
Wearables brand Fitbit has set up a partnership with the Health Promotion Board to take part in the Live Healthy SG programme.PHOTO: REUTERS

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) and fitness wearables brand Fitbit have clarified that it is the American company, and not the Singapore Government, that will be giving away up to a million health trackers.

The clarification comes in the wake of inaccurate reports of the details of their partnership by several media outlets.

Fitbit confirmed yesterday that the partnership formed with the HPB is for it to take part in the Live Healthy SG programme, which was announced on Wednesday.

The partnership ties in with the company's targeted giveaway of one million health trackers.

Some media outlets, however, took this to mean the HPB will be giving them away.

The government agency's actual involvement is that it can access fitness data through the programme - as long as users give their consent - to provide insights and contribute to more effective health promotion programmes for Singapore.

To get the free gadget, which normally sells for $158, Singaporeans have to sign up for a 12-month subscription to Fitbit's digital coach service, Fitbit Premium.

Fitbit said in its statement: "In Fitbit's collaboration with the Singapore Health Promotion Board on a new population-based health initiative, Live Healthy SG, Fitbit will be the ones providing free Inspire HR trackers to participants who commit to a 12-month subscription to our Fitbit Premium service."

The company added: "Reports that suggest that Fitbit had won the contract because one million Singaporeans would be participating in the programme are also inaccurate.

"The one million participation number is a Fitbit target, following the award of the contract to us, and it refers to Fitbit's planned reach of our Live Healthy SG programme."

The HPB said in a statement to The Straits Times that any media reports which suggested Fitbit was the sole company it called on for a collaboration are untrue.

"The Health Promotion Board intends to also work with other industry innovators, beyond Fitbit, on the use of technology to encourage healthy living. Details of any other partnerships will be shared with the media when ready," it added.

Fitbit Premium, which guides users through audio coaching and video workout clips, costs $10 a month, or $120 for a 12-month subscription.

Singaporeans will be able to register for the programme from the middle of next month, while Live Healthy SG will go live in late October.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2019, with the headline 'Fitbit, HPB clarify health trackers giveaway'. Subscribe