MANILA, Philippines – Personalized, custom, bespoke – the buzzword has made its way to our daily routines, from bags and clothes to our skincare, haircare, and now, our diet and exercise.
DNA testing isn’t just for paternity tests or finding out more about your ancestry – it can also be used to learn about your health. Pru Life UK has partnered with Prenetics, a Hong Kong-based genetic and digital health testing company to provide this exact service.
They let us try it out before they launched in the Philippines – here’s what you need to know about this hyper-personalized healthcare program.
What is it?
DNA testing isn’t just for finding out more about your ancestry – it can also be used to learn about your health. Pru Life UK has partnered with Prenetics, a Hong Kong-based genetic and digital health testing company to provide this exact service.
With a saliva swab, you can find out what the best diet is for you; whether or not you’re at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; which nutrients you’re most likely to need more of; and even what kind of exercise your body will respond the best to.
Once you get your results, they’ll be available to you for 12 months in an app on your phone. There, you can track your diet and exercise, and you’ll even have a personal health coach – an actual person, not a bot – to help you on your journey to a better lifestyle.
It’s the kind of technology that you would’ve thought only existed in sci-fi movies. But…
Does it work?
DNA testing may give you a lot of the information you need to improve your health, but you’ll still have to put in all the work yourself. After all, if you know you should avoid sweets but eat ice cream on the reg anyway, you’re never going to achieve your health goals.
A study in the British Medicine Journal in 2016 found that knowing your health risks don’t motivate people to change their behavior.
Still, after trying out Pru Life UK and Prenetics’ service, we can say that the results are interesting – it’s like a personality test based on science! It also affirms all the health risks and food aversions that you’ve always suspected you’ve inherited from your parents but never had checked.
Since you get your own health coach too, you’re more likely to feel a sense of obligation to stick to your new lifestyle.
What else will my information be used for?
In the age of Facebook and Cambridge Analytics, we’re all a little wary of giving away information –and your DNA gives way more information about you than your Facebook profile.
In response to this question, Clifford Chow, the head of business development (Southeast Asia) of Prenetics assures that your data won’t be going to any 3rd party, even Pru Life UK. Your data will even stay as private as they can keep it within the clinic.
“We don’t share any of our information with any 3rd party,” he said in an interview with the media in April.
“And even internally, the data that we get from your genes and your sample is actually anonymized. So we actually keep your names and the genetic data separate even internally within our servers. And they’re only matched when we actually generate the report for you.”
How can I get my DNA tested?
You can avail of Pru Like UK and Prenetics’ myDNA program through the myDNA Pro Bundle, which consists of an insurance/investment (“insuravest”) program, an extra “bundle rider,” and myDNA program. The myDNA Pro Bundle starts at P70,000 a year.
After you purchase the bundle, you’ll be given a kit to swab yourself for your DNA sample. The sample will then be sent to the Prenetics lab in Hong Kong, and the results will come in 10 business days.
Aside from your personal report, you’ll also get 12-month access to the myDNA app. – Rappler.com