Wednesday, May 22, 2024

This incentive will make men 4 times more likely to lose weight

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People with obesity are four times more likely to lose weight if they’re offered pounds at the end of their weight loss journey, according to a new study from the UK. 

Professor Pat Hoddinott from the University of Stirling in Scotland led the year-long study, published in the journal JAMA Network. The study, called Game of Stones, included 585 men from Bristol, England, Belfast, Ireland, and Glasgow, Scotland who had an average body mass index of 37.7. The study found that in addition to offering financial incentives, sending motivational text messages with information about lifestyle changes and online resources helped people lose more weight.

The study participants were divided into three groups. One group got cash incentives and motivational text messages, another group got just motivational text messages and a third group got neither. 


Some men in the study were texted about lifestyle changes. Creativa Images – stock.adobe.com

People who were offered money and got text messages lost an average of 4.8% of their body weight, people who were sent just texts lost 2.7%, and people who got neither lost just 1.3%.

“Losing weight can make people feel better, reduce their risk of many health problems such as diabetes, and helps the health service with their aim to keep men well. However, we know men often don’t like to go to traditional weight loss groups,” Hoddinott said in a JAMA press release. 


Professor Pat Hoddinott led the study.
Professor Pat Hoddinott led the study. stir.ac.uk

“This was a very carefully planned study, created for men by men. We worked closely with various men’s health groups and charities, including Men’s Health Forum in the UK and Ireland, with more than 1000 men living with obesity informing the design of the incentive structure,” Hoddintot added.

One group of participants was told that $507 was being held in an account for them which they would receive after the study but should they not meet their weight loss goals, money would be taken out. Of those in that group, 27 of them received the full amount. On average, those men got $162.

“The research showed that offering cash incentives was a popular and effective way of helping men to lose weight. This initiative would be a low-cost solution for the health service to offer to men, requiring only four short weight appointments, and with money paid out only at the end to those who lose over 5% of their starting weight,” Hoddintot said in the release. 

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