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This was posted in Hot Deals, but I feel it's a topic worth discussion here in Finance.

You have to put up some of your own money for the chance to double it (or more) by losing weight. It sounds like a twist on a Ponzi scheme. I can see this being fraught with disaster.

Healthy Wage

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NantucketSunrise (Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:31p) |

PROTIP: The First Amendment does not apply to a corporation restricting your speech pursuant to contractual agreement.

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Whose arguments are you talking about?

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NantucketSunrise (Jan. 24, 2013 @ 10:54p) |

I'm the original poster of this deal on FW.

This was my original post in Hot Deals -- http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/1252592/

It would have been efficient (not to mention courteous) to link to my post at the start of this thread, so Finance forum participants would have known some of the facts before speculating on the speculation.

Unfortunately, this thread here in Finance was founded on a misunderstanding and/or a misreading of my post -- you do NOT have to put up your own money to make money from this deal.

It says that clearly in my original thread: "And there's the "BMI Challenge" which is free to enter and pays $100 if you get your body mass down from obese to healthy in 12 months."

-Nantucketsunrise
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Looking at their FAQ, it seems they might have some government funding.

FAQ said: This seems too good to be true---where does the reward money come from?
HealthyWage is financially supported by insurers, health systems and hospitals, food companies, and the government. Government and corporate leaders know that incentives work and are a cost effective solution (paying incentives costs less than paying for health care for an obese population)


If that is the case, it might be legitimate.

This one sounds very scam-y. Even if its not, it seems unsustainable. Since you have to wait 6 months to a year to cash out, who knows if it will still be around to pay you. Definitely Ponzi-esque.

There's another version out there though that seemed more reasonable. I can't find it right now, but it looked sustainable, at least. The idea was you put in some amount, and did the weight loss challenge. In the end, everyone who succeeded (by whatever measure) would split the winnings from those who failed. In the worst case, everyone cheats and you just get your money back.

EDIT: On second look, there are a lot of news articles about it, so it seems at least legit. Guess it's the sort of thing that can finance itself with outside funding even without a business model.

It does offer $100 (without having to put up any money of your own) if a person starts with a 30+ BMI and get under a 25 BMI within 12 months. For some people, a financial incentive makes them more motivated (like paying for grades).




What is HealthyWage?
HealthyWage provides heath incentive programs that make weight loss fun and successful. The company was founded in response to academic research that proves that even small cash rewards triple the effectiveness of weight loss programs; that people are more effective at losing weight when their own money is at risk; and that social networks play a large role in the spread of obesity and will likely play a large role in reversing obesity.

How does HealthyWage work?
We offer three programs that pay you to lose weight: The Matchup, the 10% Challenge, and the BMI Challenge. You can participate in one, two or all three programs at the same time.

How does the Matchup work? The Matchup is a three-month weight loss challenge in which teams of five compete to win $18,000 in cash prizes (first prize is $10,000; second place is $5,000; third place is $3,000). The winning team is the one that loses the greatest percentage of weight during the contest. Teams are forming now!

How does the 10% Challenge work?
The 10% Challenge allows you to bet on your weight loss and double your money for losing 10% of your weight in six months. At registration, you pay $150. We pay you $300 six months later if you have lost 10% of your weight. You have both your starting and ending weight verified and you self-report your weight on the website once per week. Take the 10% Challenge!

How does the BMI Challenge work?
You get paid to lose weight over the course of one year. Our free program pays you $100 if you start obese (BMI above 30) and get to a healthy weight (BMI below 25) after 12-months. If you want to win more money (up to $1,000), you put up some of your own money. Take the BMI Challenge!

This seems too good to be true---where does the reward money come from?
HealthyWage is financially supported by insurers, health systems and hospitals, food companies, and the government. Government and corporate leaders know that incentives work and are a cost effective solution (paying incentives costs less than paying for health care for an obese population).


Do I need to have my weight verified?
Yes---twice: once at the beginning, and once at the end of your challenge(s).

Where do I get my weight verified?
You can get your weight verified at your health club, doctor or Weight Watchers meeting. If you do not belong to a health club or Weight Watchers, it’s easy to arrange a visit at one of our health club partners. The weigh-ins are free and do not require that you become a member of the club.

I bet this is legit. They seem to have outside funding and I bet a bunch of people fail or will fail their challenges. If $150 seems like a lot to lose, think about all the people who purchase gym memberships who never use them after the first month or so.

I wouldn't assume ponzi scheme. But they should be transparent with their financial plan. What is their total exposure? What funding source is available to cover an unexpected response? Who specifically is paying for this? Is their insurance company underwriting this thing?

They should provide these answers. Saying you are on NBC tells us nothing. That is the network that has had people just make shit up for ratings.

MaynardKeynes said:   I bet this is legit. They seem to have outside funding and I bet a bunch of people fail or will fail their challenges. If $150 seems like a lot to lose, think about all the people who purchase gym memberships who never use them after the first month or so.

...And many of them signed three-years contracts.

Office Pool Biggest Loser contests work well too. I bulk up and lose 25 pounds a couple times a year for the free cash off a 2nd to 5th place finish. Nobody seems to mind since I run the excel sheet tracking the week-to-week changes. The yo-yo weight loss will probably kill me however.

I looked into it before I joined within the past month and find it an easy and motivating way to burning off some holiday pounds to the tune of 10% over 6 months. As noted above, they're gettting most of their money from online advertising and companies in the business of weight loss. I read on one link that only 40% who sign up actually achieve their goal. I found that lower than expected, but then again, not everyone may know what they're doing before joining and may not be able to stick with what works for them.

Anyone can PM me who plans to join for a reference # from a fellow FW'er.

mattun said:   Office Pool Biggest Loser contests work well too. I bulk up and lose 25 pounds a couple times a year for the free cash off a 2nd to 5th place finish. Nobody seems to mind since I run the excel sheet tracking the week-to-week changes. The yo-yo weight loss will probably kill me however.

Yeah, be careful - after being a "healthy" weight all my life, I gained about 50 pounds in ONE YEAR a few years back due to a stressful personal experience and promptly had a serious heart attack at age 46. Now I'm on meds for the rest of my life.

I remember reading about this in Consumer Reports. As I recall the article stated that they had some initial funding from the big health insurance companies. I'll try and find the article tonight and pass along any info.

vquasarv said:   I remember reading about this in Consumer Reports. As I recall the article stated that they had some initial funding from the big health insurance companies. I'll try and find the article tonight and pass along any info.

Feb 2013 issue.

suezyque said:   vquasarv said:   I remember reading about this in Consumer Reports. As I recall the article stated that they had some initial funding from the big health insurance companies. I'll try and find the article tonight and pass along any info.

Feb 2013 issue.


I love the way most magazines can so easily time-travel. It's only Jan 2013.

amhidogha said:   suezyque said:   vquasarv said:   I remember reading about this in Consumer Reports. As I recall the article stated that they had some initial funding from the big health insurance companies. I'll try and find the article tonight and pass along any info.

Feb 2013 issue.


I love the way most magazines can so easily time-travel. It's only Jan 2013.



Magazines ALWAYS hit the news stand in the month before the issue. So Feb 2013 issues of, Popular Science, for instance, will be on the news stand (or delivered to subscribers) in January 2013.

I'm the original poster of this deal on FW.

This thread here in Finance was founded on a misunderstanding and/or a misreading --
you do NOT have to put up your own money to make money from this deal.

It says that clearly in my original thread. I will bold the relevant text below.


======
This is a link to my original post in Hot Deals --

It would have been nice to link to it when making a new thread about it, so people here on Finance would have known all the facts before speculating:

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/hot-deals/1252592/


======
Original post:

I have no personal experience with this company, but I noticed the following article in Consumer Reports magazine, February 2013 issue, page 12, and I thought this offer might be interesting to some FW members.


Article title:

When it pays, literally, to lose weight


Selected excerpts from the article:

...[W]hat if you could make money by losing weight?

That's the idea behind HealthyWage, a company that runs "health incentive programs" in which participants get cash rewards for meeting weight-loss goals.

There's the "10% Challenge" in which you put up $100 and get $200 if you lose 10 percent of your starting weight in six months.

And there's the "BMI Challenge" which is free to enter and pays $100 if you get your body mass down from obese to healthy in 12 months. If you put up $300, you can win up to $1000 for meeting that goal.

...(And if you fail, of course, the company pockets your money, too.)

It's funded by advertising dollars from insurance companies, health-care systems, and food companies, plus it gets some goverment money.



The company's website:

http://www.healthywage.com/


A box on the main page of their website says:

"Total money won: $430,000. Total weight lost: 866,500 pounds"

"As featured in Time, Washington Post, ABC News, Huffington Post, Fox News"

I think this would work, because the cheap bastard in me would win out against the fat bastard in me every time.

THAT is exactly why I thought of the Fatwallet membership when I read that article and decided to post it on Fatwallet!





wvtalbot said:   I think this would work, because the cheap bastard in me would win out against the fat bastard in me every time.

Could a pregnant woman register for this and clean up with an easy $100 BFI bonus later in the year? Maybe an enterprising FW member could sign up a whole maternity ward and collect a finder's fee.

I bet they have to change their terms and conditions because FWF cheapskate members will have some creative initial weigh ins.

Imagine someone coming in after a month of binge eating, stuffing their pockets full of heavy crap, and then drinking so much water that they're about to explode.

brettdoyle said:   I bet they have to change their terms and conditions because FWF cheapskate members will have some creative initial weigh ins.

Imagine someone coming in after a month of binge eating, stuffing their pockets full of heavy crap, and then drinking so much water that they're about to explode.


Some heavy metals up the appropriate exodus chambers.

mattun said:   Could a pregnant woman register for this and clean up with an easy $100 BFI bonus later in the year? Maybe an enterprising FW member could sign up a whole maternity ward and collect a finder's fee.

Looks like they already thought of that angle shoot. FAQ link

Can I participate if I am pregnant?
No. But you can sign up after you’ve had your baby, if your doctor says it's okay.


Cultivating mass
Disclaimer
brettdoyle said:   I bet they have to change their terms and conditions because FWF cheapskate members will have some creative initial weigh ins.

Imagine someone coming in after a month of binge eating, stuffing their pockets full of heavy crap, and then drinking so much water that they're about to explode.


Yep, I would absolutely consider the 10% challenge. Bulk up like Mac, then cut with an ECA stack and collect my money.

ragedogg69 said:   brettdoyle said:   I bet they have to change their terms and conditions because FWF cheapskate members will have some creative initial weigh ins.

Imagine someone coming in after a month of binge eating, stuffing their pockets full of heavy crap, and then drinking so much water that they're about to explode.


Yep, I would absolutely consider the 10% challenge. Bulk up like Mac, then cut with an ECA stack and collect my money.


And in the process probably spend a good portion, if not most, of the prize money on the crap to bulk up.

Here comes the rape of this program...

In order for this to stay financially solvent wouldn't a large number of participants have to fail?

Even if you don't count the 0$ program it more than 66% of people would have to fail. Guessing the 0$ would be the most popular we are talking probably assuming an 80% failure rate.

wvtalbot said:   In order for this to stay financially solvent wouldn't a large number of participants have to fail?

Even if you don't count the 0$ program it more than 66% of people would have to fail. Guessing the 0$ would be the most popular we are talking probably assuming an 80% failure rate.


The programs require participants to log in to the website once a week to update their progress. They encourage use of forums to discuss weight loss. Guessing they will sell those eyeballs to advertisers at a preferential rate. Diet industry is huge in this country, and those companies love to peddle their products.

Weigh-ins must be done at a Gym or Doctor's office. Guessing they'll pay a kickback for the increased foot traffic on the chance that those people turn into members.

And finally, insurance companies may be willing to put up funds just see if this works to improve people's health as a preventative measure. God knows they're getting creative.. as of this year, my health insurance company is subsidizing gym memberships for all members- I pay $10 a month, for no-contract unlimited use which gets me into several different gym chains, including Anytime and 24 hour.

I don't know what kind of deal this is, but I do know that these things (external incentives) usually hurt motivation in the long run and have a negative impact. There have been many scientific studies about this.

BrodyInsurance said:   I don't know what kind of deal this is, but I do know that these things (external incentives) usually hurt motivation in the long run and have a negative impact. There have been many scientific studies about this.

I suspect most of those studies involved incentives setup without input from the motivatee... ie a parent promising a child money for good grades. I think there's a significant difference when the one driving the external incentive is doing so to motivate himself. But maybe there are some studies on that too.

sauceisboss said:   mattun said:   Could a pregnant woman register for this and clean up with an easy $100 BFI bonus later in the year? Maybe an enterprising FW member could sign up a whole maternity ward and collect a finder's fee.

Looks like they already thought of that angle shoot. FAQ link

Can I participate if I am pregnant?
No. But you can sign up after you’ve had your baby, if your doctor says it's okay.


This can still work. I'm not sure you can do BMI though - since you might not qualify for it even when pregnant if you were at a healthy weight to start out with - at least I didn't even at full term. You should be able to do the 10% easily. It's very easy to lose 10% after you've given birth between staying up nights to take care of the baby and breastfeeding. I lost 6-7% in 2 months so far. Too bad I didn't know about this earlier.. haha..

In reply to BrodyInsurance -

BrodyInsurance said:   I don't know what kind of deal this is, but I do know that these things (external incentives) usually hurt motivation in the long run and have a negative impact. There have been many scientific studies about this.

This was in the same Consumer Reports article:

Does the promise of a monetary reward actually motivate people to lose weight? Some research says yes. In a well-designed study published in 2008 in the journal of the American Medical Association, for example, overweight participants who had a financial incentive -- entry in a lottery or a direct payment -- lost significantly more weight in four months than people in a control group with no financial incentives.

But... The participants tended to regain the weight later, whether or not there was a payout.


----

And there's no question that a certain kind of person -- the type of person who goes to great lengths to get a dollar-off coupon, 1% CashBack on a $20 purchase, or $5 a month by using "offpiste" methods to acquire credit card points involving lurking at inner-city drugstores and the like -- may get really fired up by this sort of challenge.

I can well see, as crazytree wrote above, how some FW folks might try to game the system, but other FW folks might see enough benefit in doing it the "proper" way, for their own good. You actually can make enough of a profit (not to mention the health benefits that accompany it) to do this the "clean" way, so why not?

I hoped, when I posted this in the Hot Deals and Free Stuff forums yesterday, that a few FW members would decide to take up the free challenge and move from the "obese" category to "normal" in the next 12 months and score $100 too. I would be so glad for them.

Why such dramatic and extremist characterization (ponzi scheme or brilliant idea).

What about it is just another mediocre idea that might or might not pan out?

ChumChurum said:   Why such dramatic and extremist characterization (ponzi scheme or brilliant idea).

What about it is just another mediocre idea that might or might not pan out?


Because that would lack the reality-tv-like hysteria and emotion that we all crave! I mean, duh.

Crazytree said:   Here comes the rape of this program...

Nah, they want people to join. The track record over time indicates that 60-75% of people out there are going to fail.

At HealthyWage, success rates vary, with between 25 percent and 40 percent of participants actually winning their bets, Roddenberry said. That doesn’t mean he’s betting on their failure. Revenue comes not only from participants but also from sponsors and other fees, he said, so his incentive is not to have people fail.

“If 100 percent of the people lost the weight, we would be absolutely thrilled,” Roddenberry said.


Weight-loss wager

Love the town name... Tobaccoville.

From the article linked above:

"In a country where two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, websites such as Stickk.com, Fatbet.net and DietBet.com also offer financial incentives for slimming down."

The question is, are they stackable?

"Fatbet.net?" What a name! I didn't notice that in the article, but I was trying quickly to locate the main points of it to include in my post.


You raise a good point - why wouldn't a person be able to do more than one of these programs at the same time? Do they disallow it?

How would they be track it anyway - they are all separate companies, and it's not like they could do a hard pull of your "health report"? (Though maybe one day in our 'Orwellian' future that might be routine - can't be far off from what American health insurance companies manage to do already.)



maxfleischer said:   From the article linked above:

"In a country where two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, websites such as Stickk.com, Fatbet.net and DietBet.com also offer financial incentives for slimming down."

The question is, are they stackable?

It would be ideal to start all the challenges at the same time. Fatorama

Of the other sites listed, dietbet.com looks like the only other one you can profit from. That said, they take a % of the bet. If everyone wins, you lose that %.

Fat-o-Rama.
Lol
Deserves a stickie (bun) thread.

pthor1231 said:   ragedogg69 said:   brettdoyle said:   I bet they have to change their terms and conditions because FWF cheapskate members will have some creative initial weigh ins.

Imagine someone coming in after a month of binge eating, stuffing their pockets full of heavy crap, and then drinking so much water that they're about to explode.


Yep, I would absolutely consider the 10% challenge. Bulk up like Mac, then cut with an ECA stack and collect my money.


And in the process probably spend a good portion, if not most, of the prize money on the crap to bulk up.

And not worth the health risks!

Skipping 16 Messages...
Whose arguments are you talking about?

Imbatman mentioned the First Amendment about 10 posts above, but no one else is bringing up the First Amendment in this thread.

Unless you mean Brodyinsurance's comment about "lawyers don't get to be the judge and jury"...


Crazytree said:   PROTIP: The First Amendment does not apply to a corporation restricting your speech pursuant to contractual agreement.

Your arguments are invalid.



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