Paying obese people cash for losing a certain amount of weight or completing a weight-loss activity is more effective than many other methods, new research shows .
Better than cash offering standalone free tools like weight loss programs, diet books and wearable fitness trackers, researchers report.
Researchers tracked weight loss efforts for up to one year in 668 low-income, predominantly Hispanic men and women who weighed an average of 218 pounds at the start of the study. Researchers randomly assigned all participants, who received one of three sets of incentives for six months. cash payment and who received nothing.
It was published in the magazine JAMA Internal Medicine, the results show that directly providing study participants with an average of $440 in cash to lose at least 5% of their original body weight (about 10 pounds) was most effective in the short term. Of those who were offered cash, 49% lost this amount of weight after 6 months. This number dropped to just 41% after one year of follow-up.
Similarly, other study volunteers also benefited from attending weight loss counseling classes at least twice a month, weighing themselves at least three times a week, or at least 75 minutes a week. Approximately 39% of these study participants lost 5% of his starting weight after 6 months, and almost 42% lost a minimal amount of weight after 12 months of monitoring.
The researchers provided all study participants with a one-year free voucher to the Weight Watchers program, which included classes, counseling, and weight loss tips. They also provided wearable fitness devices (Fitbits), digital scales, and food diaries to allow study volunteers to track their weight during and after the study.
One in five people who received no financial incentives and only free tools lost minimal weight after six months. However, this he increased to almost a third a year later.
“Our research provides solid evidence that providing incentives, especially cash rewards, even for six months, helps people struggling with limited means. obesity It’s about losing weight,” said principal investigator Melanie Jay, associate professor of medicine and population health at New York University Langone Health. “But any kind of incentive to lose weight could work, even if it’s just to give you tools to help you lose weight.”
Jay doubts whether these weight losses will be sustained over years, although the study results show short-term benefits, and that regular ‘booster’ incentives are needed to maintain the weight loss. He warns that more research is needed to confirm whether long term.
Furthermore, while incentives tied to actual weight loss were more effective in the short term, incentives tied to weight loss goals evened out after a year. It suggests that combined monetary rewards may last longer than others in the long run.
More research is needed in more diverse groups, where obesity is a problem for many, not just urban Hispanics living with obesity, she says. Popular groups include Blacks, Native Americans, and U.S. Veterans. These people have been identified as being disproportionately affected by obesity by federal health agencies.
Intervention is needed to address the persistent obesity epidemic in the United States. According to national reports, more than 40% of American adults are obese, defined as having a Body Her Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30, a measure of height and weight.
“We need new tools beyond encouragement and education to help some people who are struggling to cope with obesity,” says Jay, who is also director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Program on Obesity.
“There is no single solution to America’s deteriorating weight problemOur nationwide approach includes incentives tailored to the different needs of groups most severely affected by obesity-related illnesses and conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. It should include multiple approaches. “
For the study, which was conducted from November 2017 to May 2021, researchers recruited volunteers from hospital-based clinics in New York City and Los Angeles. There, you can easily track your diet, exercise routine, and weight loss through monthly visits. Participants’ ages ranged from she was 18 to she was 70, and all were from areas where the median income was less than $40,000 for him. Those who received cash incentives were paid monthly based on weight loss or goal achievement.
Other co-authors are from the University of Florida, UCLA, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Cornell University, and NYU.
The National Institutes of Health supported this work.
sauce: new york university