People Will Lose Weight for Just $20 a Month
Financial incentives boosted success rate in weight-loss study
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2013 1:50 PM CST
A Mayo Clinic study shows that financial incentives can help people lose weight.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Having a hard time losing weight? Cold hard cash could help. The results of a new study by the Mayo Clinic show that people did a better job of losing weight when they were paid to do so, reports Science World Report. The Mayo Clinic notes that while the finding isn't new, its study tracked more participants over a longer period of time (100 people over a year). The subjects had a BMI of 30 to 39.9, putting them in the obese category. They were divided into incentive and no-incentive groups, then asked to lose four pounds a month—those in the incentive groups were paid $20 per month for meeting that goal; the "incentived" ones who didn't had to pay a $20 penalty.

For people in the incentive groups, 62% achieved the monthly goal, while only 26% of participants in the incentive-free groups did. Overall, those in the incentive groups lost an average of 9.08 pounds, while the non-incentive groups' average was 2.34 pounds. And even those who paid the penalty were more likely to stick with the study than those with no incentive. "The take-home message is that sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives," says the lead researcher. "The financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence."

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Showing 3 of 20 comments
Mar 25, 2013 9:10 AM CDT
I think this solution is based on some selling appetite suppressant pills and that's all!
Mar 18, 2013 11:58 AM CDT
The source articles all say that the mean weightloss of the incentived group was 9.08 pounds. It does NOT say 9.08 lbs/month. Here is more evidence for you: "Those who were able to earn money for dropping weight in the study lost an average of 9.08 pounds over the course of a year, compared with 2.34 pounds for participants in the nonincentive groups. Furthermore, 62 percent of those in the incentive groups completed the yearlong program, compared with just 26 percent for those who didn’t receive cash incentives."
Mar 8, 2013 3:28 PM CST
4 lbs a month over 1 year is 48 lbs. The group with incentives only lost an average of 9 lbs. That's not that great.