HeiaHeia finds 71 percent of its overweight users improved their health

By Aditi Pai

HeiaHeiaJust over 71 percent of obese or overweight employees using employee wellness program HeiaHeia have improved health and fitness since starting the program, according to a survey of 2,039 users that Finland-based H2 Wellbeing, the company behind HeiaHeia, conducted.

Around 49 percent of users in the survey were overweight and all respondents were based in Finland.

HeiaHeia, which is derived from a Scandinavian sporting chant, is an employee wellness platform with an emphasis on social interaction and gaming. The platform also offers companion apps on iOS, Android, and Microsoft devices. The survey was also a representative sample of the 250,000 HeiaHeia users in Finland, according to the company.

The survey also found that 60 percent of users have consistently increased their level of physical activity, 77 percent of users now exercise more than 3 times a week, and 64 percent of users said the program improved their physical fitness "to some or large extent".

"The way that we want to see this [survey] is we want to be realistic and understand where these products have an impact," H2's CEO and co-founder Jussi Raisanen told MobiHealthNews. "There are also findings that show there is no impact. For us [this information] is an important part of what we're doing in the future as well."

For example, a future survey that Raisanen might look into is whether health-sensing wearables are effective. While HeiaHeia is not a wearable  device maker, Raisanen believes it's important to understand if wearables can improve the health of employees or if these devices are only suitable for a particular group of users.

From this recent survey, the company learned that the platform they've built is suitable for different kinds of people, not just athletes and very active employees.

"What we think is really powerful [is that] the results are even better among a target group of these kinds of programs especially when we are talking about obese and overweight people," Raisanen said. "They are the ones that should be doing these things."

In April, the company raised just over $2 million (1.5 million euros) to scale their product. At the time they mentioned that HeiaHeia eventually would launch new features that would focus on changing workplace wellness by turning an individual’s workday into a less sedentary experience. Raisanen confirmed that these updates would launch in the fall of this year.