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In Dubai, Losing Weight Could Mean Gaining Gold

Update Date: Jul 18, 2013 01:36 PM EDT

As the obesity pandemic continues to grow, several innovative campaigns have sprouted up throughout the world. In the United States, one study found that informing consumers how much exercise they would need to do to work off the calories of the produce helped prevent people from consuming excess calories. In Thailand, a short program enrolled overweight and obese policemen to exercise and learn about nutrition. The cop who lost the most weight earned a monetary bonus at the end of the program. Now, officials from Dubai, United Arab Emirates have followed suit with their own form of cash incentive. Dubai officials have announced that they will reward people who lose weight with gold.

A little gold might be what the people in Dubai need to control their rapidly expanding waistlines. According to a Phillips Healthcare study conducted last year, over half of the Emirati residents in Dubai are overweight. The Pulitzer Center reported that the obesity rate is almost as high as the rate in the United States. According to the local government, the residents are eager to eat but a tad too lazy to exercise, which is why officials have decided to offer one gram of gold for every kilogram lost. Based on current market value, people would be earning around $41 for every 2.2 pounds lost. However, people must lose at least two kilograms to be able to receive the reward. The officials remind people that they will have to act fast if they want any cash reward for their weight loss because this deal ends on August 16.

Previous studies conducted in the United States researching the effects of cash rewards in helping people lose weight or stop nasty habits, such as smoking, have found evidence for and against this method. These results suggest that cash incentives might only work for a select group of people, a group that researchers have not identified specifically. Regardless, wellness programs often do include the cash motive because for some people, it does work.

Just in case people decide to lose weight the unhealthy way, the officials have asked health care providers to help recommend healthy and safe ways of dieting. Whether or not this gold incentive will be effective in getting people to lose weight will be tested over the next few weeks. 

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