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Creating an expectation of reward, especially in the form of financial incentives, has been shown to be effective in initiating positive behavioral change. Incentives are useful when the behavior change involves doing something that may be, initially, perceived as unpleasant (such as smoking cessation or exercise).

Incentivization can be used to nudge people towards engaging in healthier behaviours, such as exercise. For example, the 2010 Affordable Health care act enables employers to provide rewards and/or penalties for employees to meet health targets, such as smoking cessation or improving their blood pressure.

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