Should the government pay works to lose weight?

Is initiative a good idea?


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 23, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, here's where the government does want to trim the fat, from us, or at least our waistlines. How? By paying workers to lose weight.

The program is actually kicking off in the U.K.

And advocates like Tanya Zuckerbrot say they should do it here, too.

So, essentially, they're offering you financial incentives to lose weight. You like that.


And what this is really beginning to get people to see is that preventive care, investing in that, will save trillions of dollars in the future, rather than paying for treatments.

CAVUTO: Yes, but, you know, what's the record on people who lose weight? They gain it back? Are you going to have them give the money back when they gain it back or what?

ZUCKERBROT: Well, there -- but there will -- see, there will be certain parameters that are set. And that's something that they're discussing.

This has not been put into effect yet. But what they're finding is that in the workplace, where people typically are far more accountable than in other areas of their life, this is great place to implement any forms of change, particularly those that have to do with health.

CAVUTO: You know what I worry about, though? What is to stop them to go the other way, to have you pay more if you're overweight, to have you pay more if you went for the Twinkies, instead of the salad? It gets a little scary.

ZUCKERBROT: You know, Neil, we're really looking at not just a national health care epidemic, but clearly a global one.

And in the U.K., their health care costs is $5 billion. In the U.S., it's $200 billion. And that is all -- that is all being directed to these overweight and obese individuals. And there is a really clear path here that, if we can get these people to eat better, to lose weight, that the USDA has found through studies that we can lower those health care costs by as much as 50 percent.

CAVUTO: Well, how different is that than just a quick sugar fix to get them to do that? In other words, here's an incentive for you to try to lose weight, and we hope you do, and lot -- the ideas being considered in Britain are coupons that, who knows, maybe you can take to a McDonald's.

ZUCKERBROT: Well, that's not the direction they're taking this program in. The program is...

CAVUTO: Well, they're offering a variety of some 18 different incentive programs to do this.

ZUCKERBROT: Right. And...


CAVUTO: Among them, the coupons and all -- I'm joking to say to fast-food restaurants.

ZUCKERBROT: No, no. Of course. Of course.

CAVUTO: But you -- there are ways around this, so that you can look like you're doing it, and then there's the issue of proving it.

ZUCKERBROT: Well, obviously, they're going to have to have very, very strict ways of measuring the success of these programs, the starting weight, the end weight, and more importantly, are these individuals able to keep off the weight?

But the statistics are startling showing that people who are overweight, they actually miss 50 percent more days of work than people who are of average weight. And that then leads to billions of dollars lost in productivity. So, beginning in the workplace...

CAVUTO: Really? I know a lot of skinny people who are out of work a lot.

ZUCKERBROT: Well, it's not out of work


CAVUTO: I mean, they're not showing up.

ZUCKERBROT: Well, those are for different reasons, Neil.

But when people directly claim that they have a health care issue, those number of sick days are double what the average person who is of average weight...


CAVUTO: But you know a lot of healthy fat people, too, right?

ZUCKERBROT: Of course. Being at an ideal body weight does not necessarily diminish all risk for all clinical diseases, but we know for a fact there is a direct correlation to being overweight.

CAVUTO: So, you endorse what the Brits are doing? And you would like to see that spread?

ZUCKERBROT: I think it's a very -- I think it's a very strong message.

CAVUTO: All right, thank you very, very much. Good seeing you again.

Content and Programming Copyright 2014 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.