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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

In Its Retelling, 'Roots' Is Powerful, Must-See Television

This weekend, an eight-hour remake of the 1977 miniseries begins airing on A&E, Lifetime and The History Channel. TV critic David Bianculli says the new Roots deserves to be seen and talked about.
NPR

Evaporated Cane Juice? Puh-leeze. Just Call It Sugar, FDA Says

Companies cultivating a healthful image often list "evaporated cane juice" in their products' ingredients. But the FDA says it's really just sugar, and that's what food labels should call it.
NPR

Democrats Burned By Charges Of A Rigged Nomination, But Some In GOP Watch With Envy

Even some of Hillary Clinton's foremost fans and staunchest party regulars — such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi — are ready to talk about a fresh infusion of populism for the next round.
NPR

Reports Peg Tech Billionaire As Funder Of Hulk Hogan's Case Against Gawker

The New York Times says entrepreneur Peter Thiel confirms he has been bankrolling the ex-wrestler's lawsuit. Gawker is appealing a jury award to Hogan of $140 million over publication of a sex tape.

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