People struggling to keep up with overly ambitious New Years’ resolutions may have found a solution: behavioral economics.
A recent study from the Perelman School of Medicine found that financial incentives for fitness were more effective when participants were faced with a loss rather than a gain — even when the monetary amounts were identical.
281 employees of the University were assigned to four treatment groups for 13 weeks and were told their goal was to walk at least 7,000 steps each day. Their progress was tracked using a smartphone app that they could use as a high-tech pedometer.
“More than 50 percent of adults in the United States don’t get enough physical activity,” lead author of the study, Mitesh Patel, said. Patel, an assistant professor in the Medical School and the Wharton School’s Health Care Management Department, studies the effectiveness of technology on improving health and medical outcomes.