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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Get Paid to Lose Weight?


A study came out this week from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine that found that people are more likely to lose weight if they are paid to do it, even if it is a small amount. Companies pay attention: Your healthcare costs are significantly higher for overweight and obese employees. If you can pay them a relatively small amount of money to lose weight, why not? As someone who is not overweight, though, I think there does need to be some sort of incentive for those who have managed to maintain a healthy weight in today’s world if you are going to be paying others for weight loss.

I did some consulting work for a company last year who was committed to improving the health of it’s employees. They hired me to work with each employee individually to set a health goal. This goal could be anything: lose weight, stop smoking, run a 5K, etc. As long as it was measurable, it could be a goal. If the employee attained the goal at the end of the year, they got a $750 payout. That will pay for some nice Christmas presents.

What surprised me the most was that not every employee took advantage of the benefit. All they had to do was sit down with me for an hour to set a goal and create an action plan to attain the goal. They set their own goal, so it isn’t like they had to do something completely unattainable. Get paid to improve your own health? What more of an incentive do you need?

What do you think? Should employers pay you to lose weight? I think offering some health incentives can help with employee moral by showing how much you care about their health.

Here are some ideas of ways employers can decrease stress and promote a healthy lifestyle:

  • Smoking cessation programs
  • Gym memberships
  • Free healthy snacks and water
  • Onsite wellness center
  • Free chair massages once a week
  • Seminars on various wellness topics
  • Individual counseling for nutrition, fitness, smoking cessation, etc.
  • Wellness dollars that can reimburse employees for purchased gym equipment for their home
Photo courtesy of sami keinanen
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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