THE EFFECTIVENESS OF AN INCENTIVE-BASED WEIGHT REDUCING TECHNIQUE AMONG UNIVERSITY PENDIDIKAN SULTAN IDRIS (UPSI) STUDENTS, MALAYSIA
Keywords:Experimental Study, Obesity, Incentive, Weight reduction
Increasing overweight and obesity prevalence are growing health concerns globally and in Malaysia due to various contributing factors such as life style, dietary intake (high sugar & high fat diets), less physical activities etc. In order to explore an effective weight reducing strategy for overweight and obese students; this study aimed to examine the significance of offering a monetary reward to students for weight reduction at the University Pendidkan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Malaysia. An experimental study was conducted among Forty Eight (48) University students selected based on criteria of Body Mass Index (BMI) above 25. The convenient sampling was used for 3-months weight reduction experimental program comprised of "repeated measure design" which involved multiple measurement of each subject and their exposure to all study conditions. Participants were divided into two groups: 12-pairs and 24-individuals to further compare results. Three introductory lectures were given to students by a nutritionist to educate both groups on ' nutritional aspects of everyday eating'. Participants were requested to attend follow-ups every two weeks to record their weight. ANOVA repeated measure with fixed effects were used to analyze data. Results indicated that "offering monetary reward" brought significant change in both groups students' weight reduction (F (3.09, 142.24) = 18.16, p <0.05.), and hasn't found significant comparative difference between two groups' weight reduction (F (1, 46) =2.74, p =0.10). The study reveals that offering monetary incentive or reinforcement to University-level students is an effective strategy in weight reduction either incentive is given to the groups or individuals. A similar long-term research project needs to be implemented and/or further research is required with large sample size to examine sustainability of weight loosing behavior reinforced by monetary incentives.
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