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Placing Bets Can Make Dieting More Effective

February 4, 2009: 08:17 PM EST
Putting cash on the line is becoming the latest fad in the weight-loss business. A number of internet companies have been set up to help people place bets on meeting weight-loss targets, in competition with friends or others. Recent studies support the idea that a financial incentive is a good way to encourage people to stick to their diet plan. Among web companies helping people to make friendly bets is StickK.com, which motivates people by asking them to sign signing contracts: if they fail in their goals, it costs them money. The lost money can go to a friend, a charity, or a “non-charity”, which appears to be the most effective. People who know that their cash will go to a group they don’t like are better at sticking to their diets. Fatbet.net and makemoneylosingweight.com provide a forum for publicly tracking weight and setting specific incentives, but don’t handle the money. StickK.com takes the money up front via credit card.
Pamela Weiler Grayson, "Dieting? Put Your Money Where Your Fat Is", New York Times, February 04, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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