Western Cape premier Helen Zille has appointed researchers to find ways for people to lead healthier lifestyles, it was reported on Wednesday.
The Cape Times reported that researchers from the University of Cape Town and the non-governmental organisation, Ideas42, started work in September and would pilot a R1 million project.
The university researchers were from the unit for behavioural economics and neuro-economics.
The Western Cape had higher levels of inactivity, obesity and smoking than the national average, said health department spokeswoman Faiza Steyn.
"Poor choices that lead to ill-health include the misuse of alcohol, smoking, poor diet and insufficient exercise and unsafe sex," she said.
She said that 60% of emergencies treated at provincial hospitals and clinics were the result of medical conditions. Most of these were chronic and many "could be prevented by a healthy diet, exercise and not smoking".
Zille's spokesman Zak Mbhele told the newspaper at least R1 billion was spent by the province each year to treat preventable illnesses and injuries.