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Public health innovation: Squat for a subway ticket

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City commuters are being offered free metro tickets in exchange for a quick workout as part of an innovative public health project.

Officials in Mexico City have pioneered the project, which sees 30 ‘health stops’ across 21 metro stations offering free travel tickets for every ten squats an individual performs.

In addition, 12 metro stations have medical centres set up, providing free health advice and basic treatment at a heavily discounted rate compared to private practices.

Mexico is one of most obese nations on earth and public health officials hope the scheme will encourage city dwellers to adopt more active lifestyles.

The project is the latest in a number of pioneering public health ideas to be floated as officials worldwide seek to combat the growing threat of obesity and physical inactivity. A similar initiative was run in western Moscow to encourage inactive Russians to reassess their health ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dubai has adopted a slightly more salubrious incentive-driven approach to tackling its public health woes. In 2013, the government offered citizens a gram of gold for every 1kg (2.2lbs) they lost during Ramadan.

In the UK, meanwhile, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has this week outlined proposals for a range of occupations including bar staff, cleaners, hairdressers and postal workers to support efforts to improve the public’s health. The report suggests that up to 15 million workers who play a visible role in society could form a “wider public health workforce” to help spread essential public health advice to people who typically avoid visits to the doctor.

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City commuters are being offered free metro tickets in exchange for a quick workout as part of an innovative public health project.
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