Money talks when it comes to losing weight, experts say

Chicago – Are you determined to lose weight? Put your money where your mouth is.

Having to pay money for missing weight-loss targets can yield positive results, according to researchers from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute. They presented their findings Nov. 2 at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

As part of the study, researchers analyzed almost 4,000 cases in which participants aspiring to lose weight decided whether to put money on the line. The average investment was $8 to $10 per week. People who failed to achieve weight-loss targets faced four possible outcomes:

  • Money went toward an “anti-charity” that opposed what the participant actually supports
  • Money went toward a general charity not chosen by the participant
  • Money went to participant’s designated friend
  • No money involved

Participants in the “anti-charity” group lost 0.33 percent more weight per week, on average, when compared with the group with no money on the line. Those in the general charity group lost 0.28 percent more weight. People whose friends received money lost 0.25 percent more weight.

Although the percentages are small, they can add up. A 200-pound man could lose 10.5 pounds during a 16-week “commitment contract,” researchers said.