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April 26, 2013
Money talks when it comes to weight loss

Employees who received financial incentives were more likely to stick with a weight-loss program and lose more weight than those who did not receive incentives.

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In a recent study, 100 Mayo Clinic adult employees or their dependents considered obese were assigned to one of four weight-loss groups. Two offered financial incentives and two did not.

Participants were given a goal of losing 4 pounds (lb) per month and were weighed monthly for a year. Those in the incentive groups who met their goal received $20 per month, while those who failed to meet the target paid $20 into a bonus pool. Participants in both incentive groups who completed the study were eligible to win the pool by lottery.

The mean weight loss among those in the incentive groups was 9.08 lb compared with just 2.34 lb for the groups not receiving incentives.

Senior study author Dr. Donald Hensrud states, “Traditional therapies are not working for a lot of people, so people are looking for creative ways to help people lose weight and keep it off. The results of this study show the potential of financial incentives.”

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