Outcomes in a Program that Offers Financial Rewards for Weight Loss
John Cawley () and
Joshua Price ()
No 14987, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Obesity rates in the U.S. have doubled since 1980. Given the medical, social, and financial costs of obesity, a large percentage of Americans are attempting to lose weight at any given time but the vast majority of weight loss attempts fail. Researchers continue to search for safe and effective methods of weight loss, and this paper examines one promising method - offering financial rewards for weight loss. This paper studies data on 2,407 employees in 17 worksites who participated in a year-long worksite health promotion program that offered financial rewards for weight loss. The intervention varied by employer, in some cases offering steady quarterly rewards for weight loss and in other cases requiring participants to post a bond that would be refunded at year's end conditional on achieving certain weight loss goals. Still others received no financial incentives at all and serve as a control group. We examine the basic patterns of enrollment, attrition, and weight loss in these three groups. Weight loss is modest. After one year, it averages 1.4 pounds for those paid steady quarterly rewards and 3.6 pounds for those who posted a refundable bond, under the assumption that dropouts experienced no weight loss. Year-end attrition is as high as 76.4%, far higher than that for interventions designed and implemented by researchers.
JEL-codes: D01 D03 I1 J01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-hea
Note: HC HE LS
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed
Published as Outcomes in a Program that Offers Financial Rewards for Weight Loss , John Cawley, Joshua A. Price. in Economic Aspects of Obesity , Grossman and Mocan. 2011
Downloads: (external link)
Chapter: Outcomes in a Program that Offers Financial Rewards for Weight Loss (2011)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: /RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14987
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Address: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Contact information at EDIRC.
Series data maintained by ().