Paying overweight people pounds to lose pounds works, research has suggested.
Obese people have been paid tens of thousands of pounds to shed weight in an an NHS-backed scheme.
Lump sums of £3,000 are being offered in what has been dubbed "air miles for dieters" in a bid to tackle the obesity crisis.
Every month slimmers signed up to the Weight Wins programme are weighed at their GP surgery, pharmacy or fitness centres to monitor their progress.
They earn cash payments for every pound they lose while dieting and then a 50% "bonus" if they manage to keep the weight off for several months.
Final rewards range from £80 to £3,000, depending upon the length of the plan and how much weight needs to be lost.
People can either pay a monthly fee or they can be sponsored by their employer, insurer or local NHS trust.
Data published on 745 dieters found people lost more than a stone on average (7.2% of their body weight).
This was more than double that of traditional dieters in a control group (5.5lb).
Copyright © Press Association 2010
"No, people should not be paid, the incentive should be for them to want to lose weight to improve their own health" – Rosena Morris, Bedfordshire