Public health approaches to obesity have more recently been supplemented by incentive programs in the private sector. The experience in the U.S. and abroad will be discussed, including the reasons obesity has been a recalcitrant and increasingly common problem. The complex behavioral underpinnings and dynamics of over-eating will be described along with motivational strategies to change these by use of various incentive arrangements. Evaluating wellness programs and incentive schemes is difficult. To determine the return on investment in such initiatives will require well designed programs and evaluations which recognize potential biases and inherent ethical concerns. Further research will be crucial to bend the curve on rising obesity rates with their attendant costs.
Keywords: BMI, diet, exercise, fitness, global health, incentives, nutrition, obesity, overeating, overweight, risk, smoking cessation, wellness program, wellness, workplace.