Dubai Offers Flabby Citizens Gold to Lose Weight

Skeptics think the stunt won't have much of an effect

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 20, 2013 10:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Dubai is, generally speaking, a fat nation. It also happens to be a very rich nation, and those two factors have combined to create an unusual weight-loss offer from the government: It will give people gold based on how many pounds they drop, reports Emirates 24/7. The month-long initiative got underway this week. Specifically, people will get a gram of gold, worth about $45, for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) lost, reports AP. Participants also get a chance to win a $5,000 gold bar at the end.

In a nation where half the people are considered overweight and where diabetes is on the rise, the government figures it needs to try something, notes the LA Times. But skeptics abound: "Dubai residents are already so rich (the UAE has a GDP per capita of over $45,000 per year) that getting a couple hundred bucks for giving up the convenience of McDonald’s may not be an attractive enough incentive," writes Ariel Schwartz at Co.Exist. And Emily Shire at the Week says the incentive doesn't address a root problem: "High temperatures (regularly over 100 degrees) that deter exercise coupled with the growing presence of Western fast food have had a toxic effect on weight and health." (The obese also might be able to blame their genes, now with scientific evidence to back them up.)

Gold bars in Dubai.
Gold bars in Dubai.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
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