Today my colleagues at the University of Aberdeen’s Health Economics Research Unit (HERU) published their latest HERU Policy Brief on ‘Gaining pounds by losing pounds: research finds financial incentives could help reduce obesity’. The policy brief is now available on line. These policy briefs are concise summaries of the findings of research projects, presented with a focus on policy implications. Linking research findings to possible policy improvements increase the chance that our research has an impact on the wider society. Furthermore, that our research has an impact in REF terms.
This latest policy brief ‘Gaining pounds by losing pounds: research finds financial incentives could help reduce obesity’ is part of a larger project called PROGRESS (Prevent Obesity GRowing Economic Synthesis Study), funded by the National Preventative Research Initiative (NPRI) and the Universities of Aberdeen and Melbourne. The project started when I was still at the University of Aberdeen, before I came down to Bournemouth more than five years ago now. Our research highlights that despite evidence that dietary interventions are the most effective way to lose weight, respondents preferred lifestyle interventions involving physical activity. Also that behaviour-change support improves effectiveness of interventions, but its value to participants was limited. A general preference to maintain current lifestyles, together with the sensitivity of take-up to financial costs, suggests financial incentives could be used to help maximise up-take of healthy lifestyle interventions. Finally, men required more compensation to take up healthier lifestyles.
Full details on methods and results are available in the health economics paper due to be published later this year, currently ‘published ahead of print’ (Ryan et al. 2014).
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
Ryan, M., Yi, D., Avenell, A., Douglas, F., Aucott, L., van Teijlingen, E. & Vale, L. (2014) Gaining pounds by losing pounds: preferences for lifestyle interventions to reduce obesity, Health Economics, Policy & Law, [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1017/s1744133114000413.