In 2009 the idea was raised that one way of persuading the more obese members of society into parting with their excess poundage, would be to offer cash as an incentive. The scheme was controversial to say the least.
The idea was heavily criticised by obesity experts warning it was 'dangerous'. However, it does seem to be working. The NHS is already trialling projects around the country by rewarding patients with cash. As an example, Eastern and Coastal Kent NHS Trust rewards a maximum of £3,000 to patients losing ten stone.
It's also been shown to work in the US, where researchers from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pitsburgh studied 66 obese patient over 8 months. They were all weighed regularly and advised on diet and exercise. Some of them also took part in a scheme which allowed them to put away a maximum of $3 (£2.50) each day. If they lost 4lb by the end of the month, this figure was doubled.
The results found that those being offered the financial incentive lost an average of 9lb while the others only lost 1lb. Unfortunately, once the payments stopped, so too did the weight loss where once more, patients began regaining weight.