Study Says Money Is More Incentive to Lose Weight

Money Could Be MotivationMoney Could Be Motivation

Losing weight can be tough. There are so many different diets out there that it’s hard to choose when you’re ready to take on the challenge. However, a new study says that people are more motivated to lose weight when money is involved.

“In 2004, 71 percent of U.S. adults were overweight or obese according to standard definitions, and at present obesity falls just behind smoking as a preventable cause of premature death,” say researchers. “Although many variables contribute to the increase in obesity prevalence in the United States, behavioral economics has identified several patterns of behavior that help explain why people engage in self-destructive behavior, including the tendency to put disproportionate emphasis on immediate gratifications, such as the pleasure of eating, relative to the much smaller emphasis put on delayed benefits, such as enjoying good health.”

Researchers conducted two studies involving incentives. The first one was a lottery-based study. Participants played a lottery game and won money if they met the goal or lost more than the targeted weight. The other group consisted of a deposit contract condition where participants invested their own money. If they didn’t meet the weight loss goal, they lost their money.

Each of the 15 participants were given a weight loss goal of 16 pounds in 16 weeks. They had the choice of participating in a weight-loss monitoring program or joining one of the two incentive groups.

Results showed that the incentive participants lost a significant amount of weight than the control group. The lottery group lost an average of 13.1 pounds, while the deposit contract group lost an average of 14.0 pounds. Half of the participants in the incentive groups lost the goal weight of 16 pounds.

“Over the course of the 16-week study, the average amount of money earned in weight loss incentives was $378.49 in the deposit contract condition and $272.80 in the lottery condition,” said researchers.

The researchers conclude that the incentive approach appears to be highly effective in weight loss. They state that further research is needed to test the effectiveness of this approach.

This makes me wonder though. I’ve given plenty of money to places like Weight Watchers and still I manage to not be motivated enough to lose weight. Maybe if they gave me $5 for every pound I lost, then I'd be willing to give it a try. What do you think?


Source: Sciencedaily press release