Dr. Steven Driver, an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who was the study's lead author, said 100 healthy adult Mayo employees or their dependents, ages 18-63 with a body mass index of 30 to 39.9, were assigned to one of four weight loss groups: two with financial incentives and two without.
An adult who has a body mass index -- a calculation determined by using weight and height -- of 30 or higher is considered obese, Driver said.
All study participants were given of goal of losing 4 pounds per month up to a predetermined goal weight and were weighed monthly.
Participants in the incentive groups who met their goals received $20 per month, while those who failed to meet their targets paid $20 each month into a bonus pool. Participants in both incentive groups who completed the study were eligible to win the pool by lottery.
The study found 62 percent of the weight loss study participants met their goals, while 26 percent who received no financial incentives met their goals. In the incentive groups, study participants' mean weight loss was 9.08 pounds, compared with 2.34 pounds for the non-incentive groups, the study said.
The findings are scheduled to be presented Saturday at the American College of Cardiology's 62nd Annual Scientific Session.