Want to lose weight? You’ll probably do it for £3
We may have muffin tops that could obscure the sun, but give us some hard cash and we’ll lose it like a shot. We’d also quit fags if we could be quids in. Because it turns out that even pitifully small amounts of money talk louder than any government health initiative.
That’s according to researchers at Newcastle University (a haven for booze, fags and stotties), who found that people were happy to improve their health for financial incentives. They looked at 16 previous studies and discovered that we’d get off our collective arses for as little as £3.
Research Associate Emma Miles said: his was an interesting finding and we were surprised at just how strong the effect was.
'People who took part in these reward or penalty schemes were much more likely to adopt healthy behaviours, and if they continued they would have more chance of remaining healthy for longer.’
Unfortunately there’s no research to show how long we’d stay healthy, and whether eventually we’d spend our £3 on a Mars Bar and a can of Monster. And it’s difficult to know how to implement it.
But Jean Adams, senior lecturer in public health at Newcastle University says as we're all dropping like flies, it’s worth a try.
‘We try all kinds of techniques to try to help people to quit smoking or otherwise live healthy lives, so why not try this? It is about nudging people to healthier behaviours. There is a chance this could save the taxpayer money in the long run.’
Personally, I'd lose weight for about £7.50. But I'll also need someone to run in front of me with a bag of Wotsits on a string.