Healthy Weigh Study Results

What strategy works better for weight loss in obese employees? Financial incentives, environment change strategies, a combination of the two, or just on-your-own weight loss efforts? Drs. Karen Glanz and Kevin Volpp, along with the team at the UPenn PRC, found that participants in all three groups lost weight, and the financial incentives group lost slightly more weight, but none of the strategies netted significantly greater weight losses than the others. The findings are published in the September 7, 2021 edition of JAMA Network Open, volume 4, no.9.

The University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC) conducted a study to test strategies to achieve weight loss and maintenance of weight loss in adult employees with obesity. The Healthy Weigh Study, which started in 2015, was an innovative test of the relative effectiveness of environmental strategies and financial incentives, compared to “usual care,” on weight loss and maintenance. The study evaluated whether financial incentives and environmental strategies, separately and together, helped to achieve initial weight loss and maintenance of weight loss more than no special strategies in urban worksites in Philadelphia. This study aimed to manage obesity by improving nutrition and physical activity in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions.

Read the news brief by Penn Nursing here.
Read more about the environmental change strategies in our toolkit, Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off.

Read the full paper in JAMA Network Open.


Glanz K, Shaw P, Kwong P, Choi J, Chung A, Zhu J, Huang Q, Hoffer K, Volpp K. Effect of Financial Incentives and Environmental Strategies on Weight Loss in The Healthy Weigh Study: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Network Open 2021;4(9): e2124132. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.24132


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