The NHS primary care trust in Kent offered cash payments of up to £425 to 402 volunteers from Kent, all of whom had signed up to the year long “Pounds for pounds” trial in January 2009.
100 of the original volunteers managed to see the course through to the end and lost an average of 25Ib each. However, these volunteers only represented a quarter of the total with two thirds of the volunteers failing to reach their target.
Advocates of the scheme are disappointed that the scheme showed a high level of drop outs but they still believe that cash rewards offer the best hope of persuading people to live healthier lifestyles.
Last month saw a two day hearing held by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, centred around the use of cash incentives in health. Aside from helping people to use weight other schemes looked at rewarding people with money for staying of drugs and for those who agreed to be tested for chlamydia.