Getting Paid Makes Weight-Loss Easier…

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.”

Gerald "Gerry" Pugliese

Gerry is your typical yoga practicing, no pizza or meat eating Italian guy from New Jersey. Seriously, his family still isn't speaking to him. Professionally, Gerrys been Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD's blogger since 2005.