Designing financial incentives for health behaviour change: a mixed‑methods case study of weight loss in men with obesity

Marjon Van Der Pol*, Matthew McDonald, Hannah Collacott, Stephan U. Dombrowski, Fiona M. Harris, Frank Kee, Alison Avenell, Cindy Gray, Rebecca Skinner, Pat Hoddinott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Aim
Designing financial incentives for health behaviour change requires choices across several domains, including value (the size of the incentive), frequency of incentives, and direction (gain or loss). However, the rationale underlying complex incentive design is infrequently reported. Transparent reporting is important if we want to understand and improve the incentive development process. This paper describes a mixed methods approach for designing financial incentives for health
behaviour change which involves stakeholders throughout the design process.

Subject and methods
The mixed methods approach focuses on incentives for weight loss for men with obesity living in areas with high levels of disadvantage. The approach involves: (a) using an existing framework to identify all domains of a financial incentive scheme for which choices need to be made, deciding what criteria are relevant (such as effectiveness, acceptability and uptake) and making choices on each domain on the basis of the criteria; (b) conducting a survey of target population preferences to inform choices for domains and to design the incentive scheme; and (c) making final decisions at a stakeholder consensus workshop.

Results
The approach was implemented and an incentive scheme for weight loss for men living with obesity was developed. Qualitative interview data from men receiving the incentives in a feasibility trial endorses our approach.

Conclusion
This paper demonstrates that a mixed methods approach with stakeholder involvement can be used to design financial incentives for health behaviour change such as weight loss.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • financial incentives
  • health behaviour
  • intervention design
  • preferences
  • stakeholder involvement

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