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Group approach more effective for workplace weight loss programs: study

April 10, 2013

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Ann Arbor, MI – Workers are more likely to lose weight with an incentive program that is based on group performance, according to a new study from the University of Michigan Health System.

Researchers compared two types of incentive programs among 105 obese employees at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In one set of participants, employees received $100 for each month they met or beat their individual weight loss goals. In the other, employees were put in groups of five, and group members who hit their target split $500. Workers were informed of their earnings or what they would have earned if they had met the goal on a monthly basis.

After six months, workers in groups had lost almost 3 times more weight than workers in the individual program, according to a U-M press release.

The Affordable Care Act includes new incentives for employers to provide rewards to employees who improve their health by participating in workplace wellness programs.

The study was published in the April issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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