Britain to Pay Citizens to Lose Flab

Experts say if trends continue, most Brits will be obese by 2050
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2008 10:31 AM CST
An overweight person eats in London, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2007. To avoid the projected obesity statistics in Britain, the government is suggesting several new healthy-living plans. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With British waistlines bulging and no end in sight for the obesity crisis, the government has come up with a plan: offer cash incentives to workers who slim down. Employers will host competitions, with prizes going to those who shed the most, the Daily Telegraph reports. The Well@Work plan includes voucher systems and reducing the number of fast-food restaurants near schools.

The plan has its critics, who cite studies showing that incentive programs haven't worked in the past, and point out the near impossibility of monitoring people's exercise habits. Some think the government might do better to hand out fruit rather than money, and others call the measures desperate. But a medical director points out that, after all, "we are desperate."