Now lose weight to earn big bucks!

Updated: Jun 08, 2010, 09:51 AM IST

London: Research now says that paying people to get them to lose weight is a great way to discourage obesity.

An NHS-backed scheme has recruited thousands of people to the programme, which pays up from 80 pounds to 3,000 pounds for those with the most to lose.

People sign up to a slimming programme and have monthly weigh-ins at their GP surgery, pharmacy or fitness centre. For every pound they lose while dieting, they earn cash and an added ‘bonus’ for maintaining that weight for several months. People can either pay a monthly fee or be sponsored by their employer, insurer or the local NHS trust.

Weight Wins does not prescribe a specific method for weight loss but offers practical tips on dieting and exercise, validated by NHS dieticians.

"I urge the NHS and employers to adopt such schemes widely for the benefit of their patients and employees. I am so confident this works that, for our part, I am willing to guarantee results," The Scotsman quoted Weight Wins founder Winton Rossiter as saying.

Hilary Askew, a 54-year-old teacher, lost 32lb on the scheme. She said, "I have dieted before on my own but have never been able to reach my target or maintain the weight loss. The programme made me accountable to someone else and set me realistic targets."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said, "We will look at the full evaluation of this pilot when the results are available. In Scotland we are already tackling obesity with a wide range of initiatives to get people excited about being active and eating healthily.

"As well as helping people who are already overweight, we are ensuring children develop healthy habits which, evidence suggests, they will carry through to adult life.

"We are investing 56 million pounds – 40m pounds of this new money – to do this, which is a sign of how serious we believe the scale of the challenge is and how determined we are to turn the tables on obesity."