Dubai Is Paying Its Citizens—In Gold—To Lose Weight

If you need some weight loss motivation, maybe you should move to Dubai. There, officials are offering gold—yes, actual gold—as a reward to citizens who participate in a 30-day weight loss challenge. That's a hell of a lot better than Gympact!

City officials are offering a gram of gold (roughly $45) for each kilogram of weight lost. The minimum weight to lose to participate is 2 kilograms, or about 4.4 pounds. Not bad, especially considering 4.4 pounds is pretty much target for the 1 to 2 pounds a week that is generally considered safe and healthy for people weight loss. According to The Globe And Mail, there's no limit on the payout that participants can receive; you can get as much gold as the weight you're able to lose. If you lose 100 kgs (not really possible in 30 days, but just go with me) you'll get 100 grams of gold.

This initiative comes as an attempt to encourage healthy lifestyles in the United Arab Emirates, where obesity rates have been rising in recent years (a recent study there showed that one in three Emirati children is overweight or obese). Some, like Jamie Oliver, blame increased obesity on the rapid westernization of the UAE. I don't know enough about the country or its culture to comment on that, but more fast food and less physical activity certainly seems like a gift from the modernized West to me.

Studies have shown that financial incentives are effective in terms of actually motivating people to lose weight, so I'm really interested to see if this one, that comes straight from the government, will actually make a difference to Dubai citizens in 30 days.