View Full Forums : The Fat Tax, Revisited and Inverted

12-09-2008, 04:56 PM the obese to lose weight, says study

The focus of the next diet fad might be cash rather than carbohydrates. Kevin Volpp of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia found that obese people offered a financial reward for every kilogram shed lost more weight during a 16-week trial than those given standard diet advice.

The drawback? Like other weight-loss methods, many of the participants put the pounds back on once the programme ended. To achieve longer-lasting results the monthly payments, some totalling several hundred dollars, might have to be made for longer periods.

Volpp's results mean that obesity may join the list of social maladies that can be addressed using financial incentives. Previous experiments have shown that smokers and cocaine addicts can be weaned off their habits by paying them to stay drug-free. Incentives have also successfully been used to ensure that parents in developing countries send their children to school.

One of the biggest incentives schemes ever run in a rich nation got underway last year in New York. Over 5000 families are being studied to see if cash incentives can improve the rate at which children receive regular health check ups and adults attend work training courses.Alright, so it's more like the fat tax credit. But it's still probably a good idea, as it's cheaper to bribe people to lose weight than it is to treat them after they've ballooned to typical Wal-Mart shopper size.