"Lots of companies are experimenting with rewarding people for weight loss, and this study provides evidence that paying people to lose weight works," Eric Finkelstein, a health economist with RTI International, located in Research Triangle Park, N.C., told the daily newspaper.
Finkelstein and researchers from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studied more than 200 overweight or obese employees in North Carolina.
A third of the participants received no financial reward for their weight loss after three months; another third were given $7 for every 1 percent drop in their body weight; the final third were given $14 for every 1 percent decrease. The participants did not follow a specific diet and fitness program.
Participants in the $14 group were than five times more likely to lose 5 percent of their body weight, according to the findings, printed in September's Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.