Apparently if folks don’t want to lose weight, a modestfinancial incentive will not motivate them to do so.

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That’s the implication of a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School ofMedicine.

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Read: Is wellness working?

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The research team designed a study that placed about 200 obeseuniversity employees in four groups (one a control group) andoffered various types of financial incentives if group members lost5 percent of their weight in a year.

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Nobody claimed the $550 incentive because no one got close tothe 5 percent weight loss.

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Read: Employees opting out of workplacewellness

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In fact, on average they lost less than 1.5 pounds.

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Members of the control group lost a tenth of a pound with noincentive offered.

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Study leader Dr. Mitesh Patel said the study uncovered a basicflaw of many workplace wellness plans designed to encourage weightloss: Money doesn't work, at least not at the $550 level.

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One aspect of the incentive structure that mirrors company planswas the way the money was to be awarded.

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Read: What to consider before implementing aworkplace wellness program

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One group was told they’d be paid via reduced health insurancepremiums as soon as they met the goal. A second was toldthey’d enjoy the discount in the year following the study’sconclusion. Members of the third were to be entered into a dailylottery the day after meeting their goal.

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Patel said that when an incentive is based upon a specific goalrather than steps toward the goal, it may be less effective.

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“Someone should be encouraged along the way,” he said. “We’vefound from studies that if you want to motivate people they needregular feedback.”

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