Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Do Programs That Pay People To Lose Weight Really Work?

What if someone would pay you to lose weight? Not a token amount from your meddling fitness freak brother-in-law, but serious cash, say $10,000? Would you try it? But what if you had to put some skin in the game, 60 of your hard-earned dollars for the chance to win that $10,000 or smaller prizes of $5,000 and $3,000?And what if you had to do this at the office, with a team of co-workers who would monitor your progress, or lack thereof, and whose chances at a payoff depended on you?...As you might have guessed, such elaborate wagers are underway at companies across the country, perhaps the most innovative variation in the growing trend of offering overweight Americans — and those with other unhealthful habits, such as smoking and drug use — financial incentives to change. Such experiments live at the nexus of cost-benefit analysis, behavioral psychology and the obesity crisis. more

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