Money talks when it comes to losing weight, according to a recent Mayo Clinic study that followed 100 participants for one year and revealed that those who were paid to lose weight not only shed more pounds than those who weren't, but also stuck with the program for a longer period of time.

"There's a trend toward using financial incentives, and the problem is most financial incentives are, in our opinion, not structured very well or very thoughtfully," says Jimmy Flemming, co-founder of HealthyWage, a weight loss wellness company that requires employees to bet their own money they'll lose weight. "And employees are effectively punished for being too fat or for smoking, or rewarded for being thin enough, for not smoking, usually by being able to get a discount on a health insurance premium or a lower monthly rate. And our philosophy is less about cost-shifting and punishing or rewarding people, and more about trying to use financial incentives to actually achieve behavior change."

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