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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31813c6dcb
Original Articles

A Pilot Study Testing the Effect of Different Levels of Financial Incentives on Weight Loss Among Overweight Employees

Finkelstein, Eric A. PhD; Linnan, Laura A. ScD; Tate, Deborah F. PhD; Birken, Ben E. MS

Continued Medical Education
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Objective: To test the ability of two levels of modest financial incentives to encourage weight loss among overweight employees.

Methods: This study used a randomized design with measurements at baseline, 3, and 6 months and two levels of financial incentives ($7 and $14 per percentage point of weight lost). Payments were structured so that all participants had equal ability to obtain the incentives during the study period.

Results: At 3 months, participants with no financial incentive lost 2 pounds, those in the $7 group lost approximately 3 pounds, and those in the $14 group lost 4.7 pounds. Between baseline and 6 months, when the financial gains were equalized, weight losses were similar across groups.

Conclusion: This study revealed that modest financial incentives can be effective in motivating overweight employees to lose weight.

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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