The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded a lucrative grant to the University of Minnesota for the staggering sum of $700,000. This grant will fund an anti-obesity study, analyzing if teens who are receiving financial incentives for replacing their meals with health shakes lose weight.
The grant explains, “severe obesity is the fastest growing category of pediatric obesity, with a reported prevalence near 6 [percent] in the United States … Unfortunately, conventional treatment approaches rarely result in sufficient weight loss in adolescents with severe obesity; therefore, innovative and effective strategies are desperately needed.”
The cornerstone of the study would be a year-long trial with 142 obsess teenagers, who will be paid to follow a liquid, “meal replacement therapy,” by relying on liquid shakes such as Slim Fast.
“This research targets a significant public health problem, will utilize an innovative treatment concept and approach, and will generate new knowledge to guide selection of treatment type and intensification, ultimately exerting a powerful and sustained influence on the field of pediatric obesity,” the grant explains.
A study in 2012 in Canada, details several obesity payment programs used by different other countries. The particular paper cites the United Kingdom’s “nudge unit,” which created a program called “Pounds for Pounds.”
Pound for pound rewarded obese Brits with up to £425, roughly $577, if they maintained, or lost weight for 6 to 12 months.
“Six hundred obese participants, with an average starting weight of 218 pounds, lost an average of 14 pounds in six months and 29 pounds over 12 months,” as per the study pound for pound. The payments in total amounted to between $19 and $41 for every pound that was lost.
The 2012 study concluded that short-term payment incentive programs were really not as effective as those which continued to pay people for losing their weight for a long period of time.
The National Institute of Health – NIH has funded several similar studies which involved paying patients to be healthier and taking steps to ensure their health. One of such study that has cost taxpayers $3,639,417 since 2013 is paying the low-income pregnant women to not to smoke during their pregnancies so that their children remain unaffected by the harmful effects of smoking.
Another such UCLA study, which has cost taxpayers $1,432,544, is giving financial incentives and aids for obese adults to lose pounds.