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New weight-loss program lets dieters gamble for a leaner body

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So you think you can lose a few extra pounds, huh? Wanna bet?

A new, unconventional weight-loss program encourages dieters to gamble their way to a leaner figure. The program, HealthyWage, touts you can "Win money for losing weight."

According to The Huffington Post, dieters who put down $100 can win $200 if they lose 10 per cent of their bodyweight within six months. If they can't reach that goal, they lose their money.

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Co-founder David Roddenberry told the news site the monetary incentive helps reward healthy behaviour.

"Academic studies and literature suggest it's an enhancement – it's not like the money alone will make you lose the weight," he said. "It's for people who are looking for that additional motivation."

He said he hopes 40 per cent of participants who enroll in HealthyWage's 10% Challenge will successfully lose weight to make money. "We try to have as many winners as we possibly can and still cover our costs."

Mr. Roddenberry told The Huffington Post his company keeps the wagers of unsuccessful dieters, but the majority of its revenue comes from corporations, insurers and sponsors.

There's a risk that failing could double participants' misery: If they don't lose the weight then they would also lose money. Although the encouragement of gambling may be questionable as a motivational tool, HealthyWage could be on to something.

Earlier this week, a New York man made headlines for losing nearly 200 pounds, thanks to a bet with his wife. Jay Wornick and his wife Angela challenged each other to see who could lose the highest percentage of body weight as a New Year's resolution this past January, according to the Yahoo News blog The Upshot. The loser would tattoo the winner's name on his or her stomach. The Upshot says Mr. Wornick was motivated by those high stakes and lost 40 pounds in the first month, which gave him inspiration to continue his healthier regimen. After starting at 360 pounds, he now weighs 168 pounds. And Mr. Wornick's wife now plans to have his name tattooed on her back to make good on the bet.

Would wagering make you stick to a weight-loss plan?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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