Written by Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer Tina Rosenberg
Published November 15, 2011

Read the full article.

Individuals and corporations aren’t always able to give these contests the structure they need for people to take them seriously.  Enter HealthyWage.  The company, which is less than three years old, started by paying people $100 if they moved from obesity to a healthy weight. Individuals and corporations aren’t always able to give these contests the structure they need for people to take them seriously.  Enter HealthyWage.  The company, which is less than three years old, started by paying people $100 if they moved from obesity to a healthy weight.  (It makes money through partnerships with companies and advertising to dieters.) Paying individuals didn’t work very well — but team competitions did.  So now in HealthyWage’s most effective program, people form groups of five.  Each person pays $60 to enter the team in a three-month weight loss contest.  Any loss greater than 1.5 percent of body weight per week isn’t counted, to discourage rapid weight loss that is so often not sustained.  Teams compete against others in their city or region for substantial prizes: $10,000 for the team that loses the highest percentage of body weight.  What’s important is that the team wins as a group, so every member has a stake in other members’ success.

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