Dubai paying citizens gold to lose weight in fight against obesity
Trade pounds for gold in Dubai’s 30-day weight loss challenge, which starts Friday. It’s part of a larger effort by the United Arab Emirates to cut obesity rates.
By Rheana Murray / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, July 18, 2013
Dubai is giving citizens real gold as an incentive to lose weight.
Dubai is paying chunky citizens real gold to lose weight, as part of the United Arab Emirates’ efforts to curb the obesity epidemic.
For every 2 kilograms lost (about 4.4 pounds), contestants win two grams of gold, according to the Emirates 24/7 website. That’s worth about $90.
The municipality launches the 30-day weight loss challenge, dubbed “Your Weight in Gold,” on Friday, in the midst of Ramadan, the holy month in which the faithful fast from sunrise to sundown.
“Ramadan is the most appropriate season to launch such initiatives as it reminds us of the many health benefits of reducing weight and encourages us to take steps to change our bad lifestyles,” said Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai municipality.
Sugary drinks, fast food and a low emphasis on exercise are to blame for rising obesity levels in the UAE, according to the World Health Organization.
Dubai citizens can get paid to lose weight, thanks to a new city initiative.
Data from 2000 revealed that more than 50% of the country’s population is obese or overweight, and 13.5% have diabetes — the second-highest rate of the disease in the world.
“When people come here, they become obese,” Dr. Fuad Ahmed told the National earlier this year, naming junk food, long working hours and little exercise as culprits.
“The curse of this civilization is that we have stopped using our bodies and we eat too much,” he said. “If you go back 30 years, people were more dependent on their bodies.”
Citizens must have a valid Emirates ID and weigh in on Friday to enter the contest. Currently, there’s no limit to how much gold contestants can earn.
The initiative is sponsored by the Dubai Gold and Jewelry Group and the Dubai Multi Commodities Center.
After the final weigh-in Aug. 16, the top three winners will each be awarded a cold coin worth more than $4,000, the Emirates 24/7 website reported.