Home Health Pound for pound: Paying obese teenagers up to £550 to lose weight helps them lose weight, experts claim

Pound for pound: Paying obese teenagers up to £550 to lose weight helps them lose weight, experts claim

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The scientists, from a range of US institutions including the University of Minnesota, paid teenagers up to $700 (£550) to lose weight, although the average actually paid was $330 (£260). stock image

Paying obese teenagers to lose weight not only works but is also profitable, scientists say.

Experts found that young patients who were offered a financial incentive to lose weight along with low-calorie meals lost more mass than those who were not offered one.

At the end of a year-long experiment, American researchers found that children who were offered cash reduced their body mass index (BMI) by six percent more, on average, than those who were given cash. only to a diet.

The scientists, from a range of US institutions including the University of Minnesota, paid the teenagers £15 for every 0.5 per cent of body weight they lost. The highest amount of cash given was £550, while the average was £260.

They claim their results show the approach is effective and note that the incentives offered amounted to much less than the price of obesity treatment.

The scientists, from a range of US institutions including the University of Minnesota, paid teenagers up to $700 (£550) to lose weight, although the average actually paid was $330 (£260). stock image

More than one million children have had their height and weight measured under the National Child Measurement Program (NCMP). Nationally, the rate among Year 6 children stands at more than a third, despite having fallen slightly since Covid began.

More than one million children have had their height and weight measured under the National Child Measurement Program (NCMP). Nationally, the rate among Year 6 children stands at more than a third, despite having fallen slightly since Covid began.

Among sixth-form pupils, national obesity fell from 23.4 per cent in 2021/22 to 22.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the proportion of children considered overweight or obese also decreased, from 37.8 percent to 36.6. Both measures are above pre-pandemic levels

Among sixth-form pupils, national obesity fell from 23.4 per cent in 2021/22 to 22.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the proportion of children considered overweight or obese also decreased, from 37.8 percent to 36.6. Both measures are above pre-pandemic levels

The experts tested their theory on 126 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17, divided approximately equally between boys and girls.

All participants had at least a BMI of 35, meaning they were obese, although the average BMI was 41, which is severely obese.

The teenagers were divided equally into two groups. One of them was given only meal replacements, totaling 1,200 calories per day, to help them lose weight.

But participants in the other group were also offered £15 gift cards for achieving and continuing to lose weight.

Gift cards were given out at weigh-ins that occurred every two months for the duration of the study.

At the end of the year, the test results were compared, and on average, teens in the gift card cohort had reduced their BMI by an average of 2.4 points—six percent of their body weight.

Not only that, but the gift card group was more likely to maintain their weight after the study concluded and did not show any signs of eating disorders even though they were paid to lose weight.

The approach was cost-effective, the researchers added.

UK estimates have estimated that treating a patient with a BMI over 40 costs the NHS around £1,375 a year due to the increase in health problems they suffer, such as blood pressure and cancer.

Meanwhile, patients with a BMI of 35-40 cost the NHS £1,178.

Meanwhile, the most spent on gift cards in the study was £550.

According to the BMI system, a score of 18.5 to 25 is healthy. A score of 25 to 29 counts as overweight, and more than 30 means that a person is obese, a stage at which the chances of getting sick skyrocket.

According to the BMI system, a score of 18.5 to 25 is healthy. A score of 25 to 29 counts as overweight, and more than 30 means that a person is obese, a stage at which the chances of getting sick skyrocket.

The latest child obesity data for England shows that one in 10 children are too fat when they start primary school, a figure rising to around one in four by Year 6.

It is estimated that one in five children and adolescents in the United States is considered obese.

Overall, obesity also takes a huge financial toll in the UK, with health consequences resulting in lost years of work, care costs and the price of NHS treatment costing the economy an estimated of £100 billion a year.

Experts have pointed to a lack of exercise and poor diets high in ultra-processed foods as key factors in the UK’s childhood obesity epidemic.

HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BODY MASS INDEX AND WHAT IT MEAN

bBody mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height.

Standard formula:

  • BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703

Metric formula:

  • BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))

Measurements:

  • Under 18.5: Under weight
  • 18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
  • 25 – 29.9: Over weight
  • 30 – 39.9: Obese
  • 40+: Morbid obesity

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