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News

Individual- vs group-based financial incentives for weight loss

This month's Annals of Internal Medicine investigates individual- vs group-based financial incentives for weight loss.

News image

Data on the effectiveness of employer-sponsored financial incentives for employee weight loss are limited.

Dr Jeffrey Kullgren and colleagues tested the effectiveness of 2 financial incentive designs for promoting weight loss among obese employees.

The research team investigated 105 employees with a body mass index between 30 and 40 kg/m2.

Group-incentive participants lost more weight than individual-incentive participants
Annals of Internal Medicine

At 24 weeks of monthly weigh-ins, individual incentive, designed as $100 per person per month for meeting or exceeding weight-loss goals and group incentive, designed as $500 per month split among participants within groups of 5 who met or exceeded weight-loss goals.

The team measured weight loss after 24 weeks, and 36 weeks and changes in behavioral mediators of weight loss.

Group-incentive participants lost more weight than control participants, and individual-incentive participants.

The research team noted that 12 weeks after incentives ended and after adjustment for 3-group comparisons, group-incentive participants maintained greater weight loss than control group participants but not greater than individual-incentive participants.

Dr Kullgren's team concludes, "A group-based financial incentive was more effective than an individual incentive and monthly weigh-ins at promoting weight loss among obese employees at 24 weeks."

Ann Intern Med 2013; 158(7): 505-514
04 April 2013

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