Many people find it difficult to lose weight, and more and more people are overweight as a result. American researchers have now found that a financial reward can apparently help to induce overweight people to lose weight in the long term.
It has long been known that financial reward systems are suitable for motivating people to make changes in their lifestyle in the short term. A study by the Mayo Clinic in Cleveland has now shown that the reward of money apparently also bears fruit in the long term. For over a year they had tested a financial reward model on adults with a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 40. According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), people with a BMI of 30 or more are obese. All study participants should lose two kilograms per month. The subjects were divided into two groups: In one group, participants received $ 20 each time they met the monthly goal. However, if they failed to lose two pounds, they would have to pay $ 20. The fine was collected and raffled among the participants at the end of the study. The test subjects in the other group did not receive any financial rewards – they just had to motivate themselves with the knowledge that they could improve their health with weight loss. The fact that the financial reward system was successful was already evident from the participation of the study participants: In the group that was financially rewarded, 62 percent of the test subjects persevered until the end of the study, whereas in the comparison group it was only 26 percent. The paid study participants lost an average of nine pounds, the subjects in the comparison group lost an average of only 2.5 pounds. Most motivated the study participants, however, not the prospect of a reward, but rather the fear of the fine – the prospect of having to pay money increased the motivation for losing weight by a factor of 2.5.