The problems of obesity are often in the news, and doctors can be at a loss to find ways to encourage the overweight to shed the pounds. So one research team has discovered a very effective slimming regime - pay them according to the weight lost.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine tested three weight-loss programmes on a group of 57 obese individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of between 30 and 40.
Over a four-month period, the group that was cash incentivised lost significantly more weight than those who were not being rewarded. Overall, around half in the incentive group achieved the weight loss target of 16 lbs.
While the incentive programme was a success, the research team was dubious about using it on a long-term basis.
(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2008; 300: 2631-7).