In a bid to get residents interested in a healthy lifestyle, municipal officials in Lynwood, California, have a yearly program in place called ‘Cash for Chunkers’. Participants are divided into teams of four, and for 12 weeks they compete to see who can lose the most weight. This year, the winning team gets to take home a cash prize of $3,500.
Lynwood has a serious weight problem – one in five adults here are obese – but instead of taking restrictive measures like banning sodas or raising taxes on fast food, local authorities decided to motivate people to shed some pounds by offering them cash prizes.
Cash for Chunkers is self-funded, with a $25 entry fee per participant, and a $1-fine per pound gained during the 12-week period. The program is meant to get the people of Lynwood to eat healthy and exercise regularly. To help participants do better, it includes motivational discussions and classes on nutrition, cooking, and exercise. The teams also meet up every Saturday for a weighing session. “If they fail, they later return because they know we’re going to help them here and we’re going to work as a community,” said Mark Flores, director of Lynwood’s Recreation and Community Services Department.