Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Cash for Weight Loss? Works Better When Employees Compete for Pots of Money

Do cash rewards for healthier habits work? Maybe, says a new study, if you add on one more condition – peer pressure. A growing number of companies are offering employees an opportunity to boost earning power at work via cash incentives to stay healthy. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers will soon be able to offer even larger financial incentives to prod healthy lifestyle behaviors among their workforce, such as quitting smoking and losing weight. But people who are offered money for weight loss may be much more successful when awards are based on a group's performance – rather than just their own – according to a study led by the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System and the University of Michigan Health System. Group-based financial incentives led to nearly three times more weight loss than cash awards based on an individual's weight loss success alone, according to the findings that appear in the Annals of Internal Medicine." There is broad and growing enthusiasm for rewarding healthy behaviors in the workplace, but there is little evidence on the effects of these strategies," says lead author Jeffrey T. Kullgren, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., health services researcher in the VA Center for Clinical Management Research and the division of general medicine in the U-M Medical School. more

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