Weight Loss Is Worth Gold In Dubai | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Weight Loss Is Worth Gold In Dubai

If you want people to slim down, why not reward them with gold? That's the tack being taken in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Alarmed at ballooning waistlines in a region where fast food is common and comfortable outdoor exercise is not, the local government is offering to give citizens a gram of gold for each kilogram lost by Aug. 16, according to news reports.

That's about $41 for a little over two pounds of pudge, based on today's market rate.

Participants have to lose at least two kilos to get the golden payout. They have to show up by Friday to weigh in, according to the Associated Press. And health care providers are expected to be on hand to recommend healthful weight-loss methods.

In the United States, rewards for people who lose weight, stop smoking and otherwise shape up are becoming part of workplace wellness programs, though they have yet to include precious metals in the payoff, as far as we know.

A 2011 survey of large U.S. employers found that half were using incentives as part of wellness programs, or planned to do so. They typically reduce the cost of health insurance premiums for employees who participate.

But those kind of systems can lead to discrimination against people who are in poor health through no fault of their own, patient advocates say.

Plus, incentives don't always work. Studies in which people were paid to stop smoking or lose weight have been a mixed bag. Still, some employers say they've seen sustained benefits in lower health care costs.

Washington's King County saved $6 million in health care costs between 2007 and 2011, in part by offering incentives for county employees to lose weight, according to NPR's Yuki Noguchi.

But for some people, the stick works better than the carrot. Programs like StickK let people pledge to pay money to a cause they loathe if they fail to meet a weight-loss goal.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

What If The Drought Doesn't End? 'The Water Knife' Is One Possibility

It's Chinatown meets Mad Max in writer Paolo Bacigalupi's new desert dystopia, filled with climate refugees, powerful state border patrols, and secret agents called water knives.
NPR

Clean Your Grill, And Other Hot Holiday Tips From Alton Brown

Whether you're barbecuing OR grilling, a meat-eater or a vegetarian, here's how to keep your flavor from going up in smoke this Memorial Day weekend.
NPR

Senate Blocks Measures To Extend NSA Data Collection

The Senate worked late into the night but was not able to figure out what to do about expiring provisions in the Patriot Act that authorize the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.
NPR

The Future Of Cardiology Will Be Shown In 3-D

The Living Heart Project aims to create a detailed simulation of the human heart that doctors and engineers can use to test experimental treatments and interventions.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.