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Dubai Is So Rich It Pays People Two Grams of Gold for Every Kilo of Body Weight They Lose

A weight loss contest held in Dubai this summer promised to pay all its participants two grams of gold for every kilogram of body weight lost. The initiative was dubbed ‘Your Child in Gold’ and followed last year’s ‘Your Weight in Gold’ contest organized by the Dubai Municipality. Over 7,500 winners were declared this year, which will collectively be awarded 40kg of gold worth Dh6 million (over $1.6 million).

“This year the priority was given for families as they will get double rewards than individual participants when they participate with their family members,” the official Dubai Municipality website declared. “Each family is allowed to participate with two of their children below 14 years old.”

Families that enrolled with their children were given the chance to win double the reward – two grams of gold per kilo of body weight lost. Over 28,000 Dubai residents enrolled in the month of July. Funnily, a lot of them had to be turned down because their kids weren’t actually overweight.

Photo: Jaime Puebla/The National

“Children must get medical advice from the nutritionists on sites prior to registering for the contest in order to confirm their fitness to participate,” said campaign coordinator and head of Dubai Municipality Club Waleed Al Shaibani.

According to Gulf News reports, many participants claimed that winning gold was not their only motivation. “The ultimate aim is to lose weight and get healthy,” said 28-year-old Areefin Babu, an engineer from India. He weighed 91 kg at the start of the contest and his goal was to lose 20 kg in 45 days.

Photo: Jaime Puebla/The National

31-year-old Jason Espenueva, a therapist from the Philippines, said that instead of snacking and watching TV at night, he wanted to exercise. “You have to have a goal, and competing in this initiative motivates you,” he said.

“Obesity leads to many other diseases, like hypertension and diabetes,” said Munir Hamad, a physician based in Dubai. “It’s a lifestyle disease and a problem all over the world. In rich countries like the UAE, people use cars; they don’t walk, don’t exercise enough. We need to raise awareness. If we can give awareness to families now, especially children, it means less disease in the future.”

Photo: Jaime Puebla/The National

The contest, which ran from July 15 to September 15, coincided with the month of Ramadan. “Ramadan is the most appropriate season to launch such initiatives as it reminds us about many health benefits of reducing weight and encourages us to take strong steps to change our bad lifestyles,” the website explained.

The organisers plan to award the 7,350 winners who managed to lose weight at a special ceremony in December at Dubai’s Zabeel park. “The sheer number of winners makes the planning and execution of the grand finale more difficult,” Al Shaibani explained. “We are still in the process of making all the arrangements. We chose December because the weather will be perfect for outdoor functions.”

Last year, Dubai Municipality rewarded 2,648 winners of the ‘Your Weight in Gold’ contest with 16.8kg of gold worth Dh2.6 million (over $700,000). The ultimate winner was Syrian architect Ahmad Ibrahim Al Sheikh, who lost a whopping 26kg in three months. This year’s winner hasn’t been revealed yet, but Al Shaibani promises that the record will surely be broken!

Sources: The National, Gulf News

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