The super-wealthy — but increasingly corpulent — city-state of Dubai is about to reward successful dieters with one gram of pure gold for every kilogram of weight they’ve lost during the previous 30 days.
The creative “Your Weight in Gold” initiative, during which “the more you lose, the more you gain,” was devised to encourage healthier lifestyle choices and draw awareness to a national crisis where diabetes cases are skyrocketing and adult obesity rates exceed 33 percent.
Last month, thousands of Dubai’s citizens signed up and weighed in at a number of sites throughout the city. Participants were promised about $19 in gold for every pound they lost during the 30-day period that ends this Friday. Medical and nutritional experts were on hand to advise people on the proper ways to lose weight.
Participants had to shed at least 2 kilograms (about 4.4 pounds) to qualify for an award, and there was no limit on the payout. The top-three dieters will get bonus gold coins worth as much as $5,400.
After three days of weigh-ins starting tomorrow, the municipality will SMS the participants with their results. Then they will be invited to attend an awards ceremony to claim their gold.
Dubai’s extreme wealth, hot climate, sedentary lifestyle, fondness for curvy figures and affinity for high-calorie American-style fast food have all contributed to the country’s collective weight problem.
Being overweight or obese is linked to increased risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. In June, the American Medical Association officially classified obesity itself as a disease, according to cbsnews.com.