Cashing In On Weight Loss

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Story Updated: Apr 3, 2013

..through diet and exercise. But what incentives work best for obese employees? Individual programs? Or those designed to tackle obesity as a group? In a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that was the question posed: 105 participants between the ages 18 and 70 were recruited. All had a body mass index of 30 to 40. A BMI over 30 is considered obese. The participants were broken up into three groups. All were given a link to the Weight-control Information Network of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. They were also scheduled for monthly weigh-ins and reminded by e-mail or text to make sure they came. Group 1 was comprised of individual dieters who got no further incentives. Group 2 included individual dieters who were told that 100-dollars was being set aside for each of them and would be electronically transmitted if they met their monthly weight-loss goal.

In Group 3, participants were divided into teams of five, and promised 500-hundred dollars to split among the members who met their monthly weight-loss goal.Those who didn't were not part of the split.The team dieters lost an average of 7 pounds more than those dieting individually... and an average of almost 10 pounds more than those in the control group who had no financial incentives at all.12 weeks after the study ended, the group dieters had managed to maintain their weight better than the control group, too. So whether it was the higher amount of money, or the group support...dieting with a crowd made a difference.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.

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