Financial Incentives Helped To Inspire Weight Loss
A study which involved 57 obese adults, of which the majority was men, found that the use of financial incentives resulted in three times the weight loss as compared to those who did not have such a motivation.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association several years ago. It suggests that the possibility of better health, which is a long-term issue, does not serve as strong a motivation as financial rewards.
The study subjects were broken into three groups, two of which were given incentives while one group was used as the control. Those in the latter only lost an average of 4 pounds over a 16-week period, compared with an average of 13 to 14 pounds in the incentive groups.
By the end of 7 months, those in both incentive groups had put on weight again, and there was no longer any statistical difference between them and those in the control group. The good thing was, they still maintained a net weight loss compared to at the start of the study, something which did not take place in the control group.
Of course, it would sound strange to be handing out money to get people to watch their weight, or to live a healthy lifestyle. But what this study did bring out was the reality that it is difficult to get people to make healthy short-term choices, when the potential benefits are not quickly obvious and only takes place further down the line. On the other hand, when an immediate carrot is given – in this case, money, it becomes harder for people to say no.
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