Weight-Loss Motivator? Hard Cold Cash

If getting healthy isn’t enough of an incentive for you to lose weight, perhaps some cold hard cash will do the trick. A new study found that people who are offered a financial reward for getting fit drop more pounds than people without a monetary motivation. American culture is known for both its capitalism and obesity – perhaps one of those traits can help to eliminate the other.

The study followed a group of obese American adults for eight months. Half of the participants were given $168 a month to hit fitness goals, while the other half was left to find its own motivation to get healthy. While everyone lost some weight, it was the money that really caused some of the participants’ hearts to race — both figuratively and at the gym. Ultimately, the people with the financial incentive lost more weight, presumably because they were more eager to stuff their pockets than their bellies.

Unfortunately, the weight-loss success lasts only as long as they money does. Once the money stopped being awarded, these obese Americans lost the drive to diet and exercise. Although both groups of people started putting weight back on, the half that had been motivated by cash gained the weight back more rapidly. Apparently, they invested the money they earned in fast food rather than fresh produce.

Nevertheless, it is useful to know that Americans who don’t normally exercise are willing to get healthy for a price. Health insurance companies could prioritize offering fee reductions to customers who lose weight, since clearly people will shrink their waistlines when it affects their bottom lines. In the meantime, if weight-loss is your goal, now you know what to dangle in front of yourself on the treadmill. Good luck finding a generous benefactor to fund your weight-loss paychecks, however!


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