Show Me the Money! Workers Offered Cash to Diet

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With America's growing obesity rate, some companies are giving their workers an enticing incentive to stay fit -- cold, hard cash.

Some are calling the method bribery, but employers say that not only are they seeing results -- they're saving money.

A new study shows that employees who get paid while they are dieting are nearly four times more likely to lose weight.

Companies across the country are taking that statistic to heart. In Florida, there is a statewide contest with a $10,000 prize -- all designed to prompt people to get serious about better health.

"It's great motivation," said one person.

"My goal is to be healthy and go into my 50s healthier than I am today," another person said.

"I want to feel better about myself and I want to be healthy and I want to be fit," yet another employee said.

Cash isn't the only incentive companies are using to entice their workers get fit. Some employers offer other incentives like in-house gyms and healthier cafeteria food.

But even though these incentives urge people to lose weight, some doctors are hesitant about offering money as a diet motivation.

"It might be a good jumpstart for people, but the real issue is maintenance -- staying at a good weight and financial incentive will not work with that," said Dr. Stuart Fischer, author of the book "The Park Avenue Diet."

Companies say that it's the teamwork involved in these programs that helps people keep the weight off.

"If we believe it, we can achieve it," one employee said.

"We really try to support each other," another said.

Companies say that having healthy workers saves them money in health care costs.

The health programs have resulted in drops in workers compensation claims, health insurance filings and sick days.

Johnson and Johnson, the New Jersey-based multi-national manufacturers of pharmaceutical, diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, and biotechnology products, says that over the past 10 years they've saved $250 million in health care costs by implementing healthy living programs for their employees.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

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