Competitive Cash Incentives Make People Lose More Weight
In the study, researchers compared two groups of people that were involved in a weight loss program. One group was part of a group of five people who were all losing weight together. Every month, the group would be given $500 to split amongst themselves if they met or exceeded their goals.
The other group also consisted of five people, but in that group, each person was responsible for their own weight loss. If a person reached or exceeded their goal, they would be given $100.
All people involved were coworkers.
Surprisingly, the people in the group that split the money lost more weight.
It seemed group support likely helped the people in the first group shed the fat.
"What was really neat was my coworkers watched it coming off which was exciting," Starr Lynch said.
Lynch and her coworkers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia participated in the study.
The study found that those who were offered rewards based on the group's performance lost three times as much weight compared to those who were given rewards based on individual performance.
"No question, hands down the individuals in the group incentive did much better," Dr. David Asch said. "They lost about 10 onus, little more than 10 pounds on average."
"If you didn't lose the weight, and everyone else did, you would have this sort of unhappy circumstance of watching everyone else share the winnings you could have earned."
Though Starr has gained back 15 pounds since she participated in the program a year ago, she said it influenced how she ate in the future.
After the program finished, she earned more than $1,000 for her weight loss.
The study speaks of a recent trend in many offices where employers offer cash incentives to get their workers healthy. Soon, under the Affordable Care Act, employers will be able to offer their workers larger financial rewards for losing weight.