From punching the clock to Hollywood game shows, getting paid makes everything easier.

And now, in a world that’ll try anything to slim down, a new study claims paying people to lose weight works better than conventional approaches, i.e. doing it for health reasons.

It seems people like a payday more than the payoff.

“We wanted to create a reward system which gave [people] rewards in the present,” Dr. Kevin Volpp of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine told Reuters, “The idea was to create a mechanism where loss aversion would help drive people’s motivation.”

So researchers divided participants into 3 groups:

  • Lottery group: Individuals could receive daily lottery winnings for achieving weight-loss goals.
  • Investment group: People put up their own money, between 1 cent and $3 a day, which they could lose for not meeting weight-loss goals, but received a bonus if they did.
  • Control group: No money rewards. Just good health!

Of the participants, 57 obese people, the individuals in the incentive groups lost more weight than the control group at the end of the 4 months.

Published in Journal of the American Medical Association, people in the lottery group earned a total of $378.49 and lost 13 pounds and members of the investment group made $272.80 and lost 14 pounds. Individuals in the control group only shed 4 pounds.

But Dr. Volpp noted the cash helped in the short-term, but when the money stopped, the weight started coming back.

I guess it’s like they say, “Cash rules everything around me. C.R.E.A.M, get the money. Dollar, dollar bill y’all.”