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Monday 24th October 2016

Cash incentives do lead to weight loss

3rd May 2011

An NHS programme that uses financial incentives to encourage people to lose weight has shown clear signs of success.


Evaluation of the scheme has revealed that patients typically shed about 4kg over 12 months and that almost 50% of them achieved “clinically significant” weight loss of 5% or more of body weight.

The scheme, which covered 402 people, operated in the NHS Eastern and Coastal Kent area where people were given payments of between £70 and £425.

The success of it has led to suggestions that the scheme could now be used elsewhere in the NHS.

Dr David Haslam, who chairs of the National Obesity Forum, said: “I used to think that financial incentives were the wrong way to go about this. There is the concern that motivation will disappear when the money isn’t there. But the evidence is pretty good – 4kg over a year is quite good. If we are interested in health gains then this does the business.”

The region used the Pounds for Pounds (P4P) programme by the commercial company Weight Wins in a pilot scheme that cost £75,000.

Those taking part received weight loss guidance and advice.

Dr Clare Relton from the University of Sheffield, who led research into the scheme, said: “A financial incentive weight loss programme may be acceptable to the general public and to NHS employees, and to both men and women.”

The average weight loss in the scheme was comparable to other evaluations of non-medical weight loss interventions, according to the research team.


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