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Money talks when it comes to losing weight, Mayo Clinic study finds
Date:3/7/2013

SAN FRANCISCO -- Weight loss study participants who received financial incentives were more likely to stick with a weight loss program and lost more weight than study participants who received no incentives, according to Mayo Clinic research that will be presented Saturday, March 9 at the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session.

Previous studies have shown that financial incentives help people lose weight, but this study examined a larger group of participants (100) over a longer period (one year), says lead author Steven Driver, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic. One hundred healthy adult Mayo employees or their dependents, ages 18 with a body mass index of 30 to 39.9 kg/m2, were assigned to one of four weight loss groups: two with financial incentives and two without. An adult who has a body mass index -- a calculation determined by using weight and height -- of 30 or higher is considered obese, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All participants were given of goal of losing 4 pounds per month up to a predetermined goal weight. Participants were weighed monthly for one year; previous financial incentive studies followed patients for 12 and 36 weeks. Participants in the incentive groups who met their goals received $20 per month, while those who failed to meet their targets paid $20 each month into a bonus pool. Participants in both incentive groups who completed the study were eligible to win the pool by lottery.

Study completion rates for the incentive groups were significant compared with the non-incentive groups: 62 percent versus 26 percent. In the incentive groups, participants' mean weight loss was 9.08 pounds, compared with 2.34 pounds for the non-incentive groups.

"The take-home message is that sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives," Dr. Driver says. "The financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence.
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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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