Wellness
Dieting for Dollars: Men Lose More Weight When Cash Is at Stake

Dieting for Dollars: Men Lose More Weight When Cash Is at Stake

A new study reveals men shed pounds more effectively than women when money and bragging rights are on the line.

Men are four times more successful at cash-fueled diet contests, than women, according to a new study. The study found that males who are competing in a workplace contest, and home-based diet contest participants lost more weight when monetary prizes were available.

Compelling findings from a first-of-its-kind collaborative study cited by HealthyWage reveal that while weight loss wagering is an successful way to motivate both genders to lose weight, men are four times more likely than women to win a weight loss “bet.” The study underscores the critical, often absent, component of tapping into the male psyche; namely, that men respond overwhelmingly well to weight loss programs employing a competition-fueled approach, particularly when they have “skin in the game.” 

The study, "Weight Loss Betting Program Produces 63% Success Rate for Male Participants," found remarkable success for men involved in a weight loss “bet” and is the first to verify that men and women lose weight differently.  In brief, employees at a top-tier Fortune 50 company were given the opportunity to make a weight loss wager – to ante up $100 to win $400 if they lost 10 percent of their starting body weight within 6 months. The result was widespread weight loss among participants – particularly men. Of the total participants, 63 percent of the male subjects won the “bet” and were paid $400; 15 precent of female subjects also won the $400. Nearly half – 49 percent – of all program participants reported losing at least 5 percent of their starting weight.

Male study participant David M. emphasized the motivation boost a cash incentive can provide: “I already had a goal of losing at least 10 percent of my weight. I think the cash prize did have an impact. More so, it helped me achieve my goal within a time period. I was more likely to stick to my fitness regimen knowing that the weigh-out period was just around the corner.”

Female participant Carol F. also cited the power of the financial wager, commenting, “When I was really struggling to get a jump start, I thought in terms of the $400. For example, was that piece of cake worth $400? If it wasn’t, then I didn’t eat it.”

“Despite efforts by traditional pound-shedding purveyors … to encourage men to actively engage in a weight loss regime, men still account for less than 15 percent of participants in commercial weight-loss programs,” said HealthyWage co-founder David Roddenberry. “And quite notably in the study, fully 63 percent of male participants in a weight loss ‘betting’ program realized success, losing 10 percent or more of their body weight, versus 15 percent of women achieving this same notable measure of weight loss.”

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