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Health & Medicine Weight Loss can be Achieved by Financial Incentives: Study

Weight Loss can be Achieved by Financial Incentives: Study

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First Posted: Mar 08, 2013 02:14 AM EST
Weight Loss Can be Achieved by Financial Incentives: Study
(Photo : Reuters)

Money can do wonders. It can not only make a lot of people change in terms of priorities, it can help one shed off the extra pounds as well. Surprised on reading this? But this is what the latest study states.

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The research study by researchers at Mayo Clinic suggests that weight loss study participants who received financial incentives were more likely to follow the weight loss program strictly, and they noticed a reduction in their body weight when compared to those participants who didn't receive any incentives.

Prior to this, a study showed how financial incentives help people lose weight. This study had a lesser number of participants who were followed for 12-36 weeks, while the latest study was conducted on 100 participants who were followed for one year.

The participants in the new study were employees of Mayo Clinic or their dependents belonging to the age group of 18-63, with a BMI of 30-39.9 kg/m2. These participants were divided into four groups, out of which two groups received financial incentives and two groups didn't receive any financial incentives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an adult with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more than 30 was considered to be obese.

The participants were told to achieve the goal of losing 4 pounds per month up to a predetermined goal weight. The researchers kept track of their body weight every month for almost one year. The researchers told the participants in the incentive groups that they would receive $20 per month if they achieved the goal. And those who failed to achieve the goal would need to pay $20 each month that gets into the bonus pool. Participants in both incentive groups who finished the study were entitled to win the pool by lottery.

The researchers noticed that 62 percent of the participants in the incentive group achieved the goal, while just 26 percent from the non-incentive group hit the target. The mean weight loss of participants from the incentive group was 9.08 pounds and the mean weight loss for the non incentive group was 2.34 pounds.

"The take-home message is that sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives," lead author Steven Driver, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic, said in a press statement. "The financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence."

Those from the incentive group who paid penalties continued their participation as compared to the non-incentive group.

This study will be presented March 9 at the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session.

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