Kaiser weight-loss program
 pays cash to winning dieters

A participant signs in before weighing herself at a kiosk at American Furniture Warehouse.

If you’re ready to lose weight, why not get paid for it?

That’s what about 80 people from Grand Junction have been doing since July through Kaiser Permanente’s Weigh and Win program.

While the program has been offered locally since the summer, anyone over 18 and overweight is encouraged to join.

Offering incentives, especially cash, can be a motivating jump-start to get folks to drop the pounds, said Courtney Downey, client manager of the Weigh and Win program.

“We really found out that it was a positive impact,” Downey said. “When people are trying to lose weight, it’s great for accountability.”

Grand Valley folks wanting to enroll in the free program can register online at weighandwin.com and check in for quarterly weigh-ins at a kiosk at American Furniture Warehouse, 2570 American Way.

Participants earn cash based on the amount of weight lost. For example, participants can earn $15 a quarter for losing 5 percent of their body weight and $30 for losing 10 percent of their body weight. Earn a whopping $150 for losing 30 percent of your body weight.

Since the program was offered in March 2011 in Colorado, more than 26,000 people have enrolled, losing a combined nearly 61,000 pounds.

Offering cash for people to trim down may be money well spent. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, annual health care costs related to obesity have reached $168 billion. Obesity-related conditions are responsible for about 112,000 preventable deaths per year, according to the American Medical Association.

Additionally, obese people have more health problems and spend 42 percent more in health care costs than their counterparts with healthy weights, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Colorado alone, 55 percent of residents are considered overweight or obese. Obesity-related health care costs reached $704 million in 2009, according to the Weigh and Win campaign.

The Weigh and Win program is designed to help folks to maintain weight loss goals over the long term, not perpetuating yo-yo dieting and rapid weight loss due to fasting, Downey said.

“People find it’s nice to see their body changing,” she said of those who stick with the efforts.


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