Dubai offers gold to fight obesity epidemic
Dubai, July 20, 2013
Dubai's government will pay residents in gold for losing those extra pounds as part of a government campaign to fight growing obesity.
The 30-day weight-loss challenge was launched yesterday to coincide with Ramadan.
Many eat too much after breaking the fast, tucking into traditional dishes loaded with fat and sugar that can push their daily calorie intake well above levels outside of Ramadan.
For every kilo dropped by August 16, contestants who registered yesterday can walk away with a gram of gold, currently worth about $42, Dubai's civic authority announced as part of its 'Your Weight in Gold' initiative.
The top three dieters can win gold coins worth up to $5,400. The contestant has to lose a minimum 2kg to qualify for the contest.
"Participant must have excess weight to reduce and stay away from unhealthy methods to lose weight and should be present on the final day to measure weight," Dubai Municipality said.
Health officials in Dubai and in the Gulf are spending millions to control obesity among their citizens.
Oil wealth and high household incomes have led to overeating, high-sugar diets and a heavy reliance on cars for getting around, leading to an explosion of diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses.
Five of the 10 countries where diabetes is most prevalent are in the GCC, according to the International Diabetes Federation, an umbrella organisation of more than 200 national associations.
Child obesity is also a growing problem.
Dubai is known for its larger-than-life offers. It has a history of giving away luxury cars and yachts in lucky draws and is home to one the largest gold markets in the region. The emirate even has gold vending machines in shopping malls. - Reuters