Evaluating the Effectiveness of Financial Incentives in Promoting Weight Loss Among Obese Individuals.
Obesity is a major cause of premature aging and the second leading cause of preventable mortality in the United States, accounting for approximately 110,000 deaths per year. Financial incentives have been effective in modifying a number of health behaviors but they have rarely been applied to weight loss, and to the best of our knowledge never to weight loss by low-SES obese veterans.
We propose testing two different approaches to using financial incentives to encourage weight loss. In the first, we build on previous work showing the effectiveness of 'deposit contracts', in which subjects are given the opportunity to put their own money at risk if they do not lose weight. In this incentive condition, subjects receive a direct payment conditional on daily weight loss, and an optional additional payment based on their own contributions to the deposit contract. We will match their contribution 1:1 to make the option of depositing their own money attractive to this predominantly low SES population. In the second approach we build on our own prior work using lotteries to promote drug adherence. In this incentive condition, participants are entered into a daily lottery, and receive any payoffs they earn from the lottery only if they stay on track with their weight-loss goal. Given their popularity in the general population, lotteries hold the promise of providing a cost-effective means of motivating weight loss and making efforts to lose weight more salient to obese patients.
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
|Official Title:||Evaluating the Effectiveness of Financial Incentives in Promoting Weight Loss Among Obese Individuals.|
- Mean weight loss will be greater in both experimental groups compared to the control group by the end of 16 weeks [ Time Frame: 4 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
- Use the difference in weight loss measured at 16 weeks to project the long-term cost-effectiveness if weight loss is sustained [ Time Frame: 4 Months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
|Study Start Date:||June 2007|
|Study Completion Date:||December 2009|
|Primary Completion Date:||June 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
Active Comparator: Lottery
Participants are entered into daily lotteries to win $10 or $100 every day their weight is at or below daily targets.
Behavioral: Financial Incentives
Participants call in their weight on daily basis. Participants must report under their daily targets to qualify for entry into lottery. Call-in weights are verified at monthly weigh-ins.
Active Comparator: Deposit
Participants receive $3/day if they are at or below their daily weight goals, plus have opportunity to deposit up to $3/day of their own money, which is then matched 1:1 every day they are at or below their daily weight goals.
Behavioral: Financial Incentives
Participants call in their weight on daily basis. Participants must report under their daily targets to qualify to receive daily incentive. Call-in weights are verified at monthly weigh-ins.
No Intervention: Control
Participants would receive usual care from their providers and have monthly weigh ins.
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Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00520611
|United States, Pennsylvania|
|Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19104|
|Principal Investigator:||Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD||Univesity of Pennsylvania|
|Study Director:||George Loewenstein, PhD||Carnegie Mellon University|
|Study Director:||Leslie John, PhD cand.||Carnegie Mellon University|