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."