Need an incentive to lose weight? How about cold hard cash? Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center found that rewarding those who lost weight with money motivated them to lose up to four times more weight than those who were not enrolled in cash incentive programs.

One program included participants randomly assigned a lottery number. Each day, they had a 1-in-5 chance of winning $3 and a 1-in-100 chance of winning $100. Participants received a payout at the end of each month, but only if they met their weight-loss goal of one pound a week.

“Behavior-change efforts are often futile because those changes might help you sometime in the future, but the average person has trouble making that future reward relevant today,” said Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD, the director of health at the Wharton School. “Cash reward programs offer a chance to change behavior and get a reward right now.”

But not all the news was great: After the short-term program ended, many of the cash-receiving dieters began to regain weight within three months.

Real Health says: Take the money and run!