Figure of the month: 56 kg
News Arnulf Hinkel, financial journalist – 02.08.2018
When the United Arab Emirates ranked sixth among the countries with the most obese population, according to a global survey published in the BMC Health Report 2012, the Dubai Municipality decided on a measure that was as unusual as it proved successful: it promised one gram of gold for every kilogram lost as part of a verifiable diet to every overweight citizen. The initiative proved successful: a total of 56 kilograms were awarded.
“Your Weight in Gold”
The initiative, called “Your Weight in Gold”, was launched in 2013 during Ramadan to make it easier for dieters to join the programme. In the first year, only adults were allowed to participate, as there were concerns that the campaign might promote eating disorders in children and adolescents. By the end of the year, $762,340 worth of gold had been awarded to successful participants of the campaign. In the second year, many more citizens took part, not least because the Dubai Municipality decided to extend the campaign to children and young people after all.
Encouraging young people to lose weight
As in other countries, many adolescents in Dubai do not get enough exercise, preferring to spend their spare time on a tablet or Smartphone rather than doing sports. In 2014, the Dubai Municipality therefore not only made the initiative accessible to children and adolescents, but also doubled the reward for a successful diet: every young participant received 2 grams of gold for one kilogram successfully lost. The minimum threshold to qualify for a reward, however, was 2 kilograms. The campaign, which had more than 10,000 participants, ended after two years. To date, it is considered the largest and most elaborate initiative to promote the health of the people of Dubai. Overall, $2.35 million worth of gold were awarded for 54 tons of weight loss.