Juliet Walker: BMJ in the news

Juliet WalkerA BMJ analysis of using financial incentives to achieve healthy behaviour has stirred a debate in the press this week. News agency AFP wrote that, “Health authorities and corporations are increasingly offering money to people who quit smoking, lose weight or take medicine, despite uncertainty that such incentives work beyond a few months”. The Financial Times was equally pessimistic saying that, “the programmes are attacked as “a form of bribery” and “rewarding people for unhealthy behaviour”, while others believe they undermine the doctor patient relationship and remove patients’ autonomy”. However The Independent is more optimistic saying: “Paying people to change their habits works because it offers immediate rewards for behaviour that will only provide a health benefit in years ahead”.

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Juliet Walker is the Editorial Intern, BMJ