A pilot study testing the effect of different levels of financial incentives on weight loss among overweight employees

J Occup Environ Med. 2007 Sep;49(9):981-9. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31813c6dcb.


Objective: To test the ability of two levels of modest financial incentives to encourage weight loss among overweight employees.

Methods: This study used a randomized design with measurements at baseline, 3, and 6 months and two levels of financial incentives ($7 and $14 per percentage point of weight lost). Payments were structured so that all participants had equal ability to obtain the incentives during the study period.

Results: At 3 months, participants with no financial incentive lost 2 pounds, those in the $7 group lost approximately 3 pounds, and those in the $14 group lost 4.7 pounds. Between baseline and 6 months, when the financial gains were equalized, weight losses were similar across groups.

Conclusion: This study revealed that modest financial incentives can be effective in motivating overweight employees to lose weight.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / economics*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • Reward*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Loss*
  • Workplace