Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Taking off pounds collectively 

This made page one of our newspaper:
People will lose weight for money, even a little money, suggests a study that offers another option for employers looking for ways to cut health care costs.

The research published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that cash incentives can be a success even when the payout is as little as $7 for dropping just a few pounds in three months.

After reading Tyler Cowen, I think perhaps the fact that it is only $7 is part of the reason for its success. You can reward too much. But then the article says those who had a higher payment lost more weight. So what else helps? I think it is peer pressure:

Plant worker Vonderahe Rivera said the financial incentives offered by her employer have helped her lose a total of 50 pounds and keep it off. Over the past five years, the O'Fallon, Mo.-based VSM Abrasives, which makes sandpaper, has been rewarding its 125 employees with cash for trimming their weight and an extra day off each year if they don't gain it back.

"The money is great and the day off is great," said the 51-year-old Rivera.

This year, she lost 25 pounds and got $125 when her employee team reached their weight-loss goal. She used the money for some new outdoor furniture. Being part of a group also keeps her motivated, Rivera said.

A local firm here in St. Cloud has a set of five things one can do for health -- do them, and your health insurance premium is reduced, more the more of the five you do. The firm isn't too big, though, and I wonder if the knowledge of who did what is a positive motivation.

Labels: ,