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Employer offers dieters $20 monthly and a lottery to lose weight

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Money incentives could help obesity and diet, finds Mayo Clinic study

If your employer offered $20 a month to lose weight, would you be more inclined to make an effort to lower your BMI? A new Mayo Clinic study shows money does talk when it comes to shedding pounds.

In new research, weight loss success did come from getting paid. Participants who failed to meet monthly goals had to give up $20 toward a lottery.

The study looked at how money helps people lose weight over a long period of time. Past studies show financial incentives for weight loss work short-term. Participants were followed over a year in the new study that also included a larger group than other investigations.

Four pounds a month weight loss success by getting paid

The challenge was given to employees of the Mayo Clinic and their dependents, age 18–63, with body mass index was body mass index of 30 to 39.9 kg/m2; considered obese according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

For the study, people who failed to lose weight paid $20 a month that was put into a lottery pool for those who met their predetermined weight loss goal.

Offering money for weight loss worked; 62 percent of people offered $20 a month and a chance at the lottery pool met their goal, compared to just 26 percent of the non-incentive group.

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The group getting money lost an average of 9.08 pounds; people who didn't shed about 2.34 pounds over the year. The findings will be presented will be Saturday, March 9 at the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session.

Steven Driver, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic said in a press release that the study shows money is a driver for weight loss, helping people stick to weight loss plans to tackle obesity related health problems.

If you are an employer trying to find a creative way to help workers lose weight, the investment could bring rewards for improving employee health, according to the Mayo Clinic study.

Ways to help people in the workplace to lose weight

1. Treadmill desks

2. Conducting walking meetings

3. Placing healthy snacks in vending machines

4. Encouraging frequent breaks from the computer.

This page updated June 7, 2013