Losing Pounds In Dubai is Worth Its Weight In Gold - Literally!

By Meera Dolasia on November 14, 2013

CCSS NCSS-3 Grades: 3-5 Word Search

We have heard of corporations incentivizing employees to get healthier by providing them with gym memberships or even gift cards, but gold from local government officials? That has to be a first! Turns out it is exactly what the flashy city of Dubaiin the United Arab Emirates did recently, to try get its residents to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Concerned about the growing obesity of their population, in July 2013, municipality officials threw the City's residents a five-week challenge. Called your 'Your Weight In Gold', it promised to award them the precious metal if they managed to shed any pounds during the specified period.

To encourage entrants to lose as much as possible, they offered tiered incentives. Weight loss between 2 - 5 kilos (4.4 -11 pounds) would be rewarded with 2 grams, 5 - 10 kilos with 4 grams and anything over ten, a generous 3 grams of gold, for every kilo lost.

Just as in the television show, entrants had to appear for an initial weigh in at any one of the five designated centers on or after July 19th. While the municipality did not offer the same rigorous trainers, they did set up consulting centers where the contestants could get advice on diet and exercise.

There was initially some skepticism whether this grandiose plan would work - After all, most of Dubai's residents are already independently wealthy and more importantly the lure of fast food was too tempting to avoid. But those doubts were dismissed on the first day, when over 10,000 people lined up to weigh in!

What was even more encouraging was that when the results were announced at the end of August, 2,648 entrants had met the challenge. Of these, 575 residents had lost at least two kilos (kg), while 2,019 had lost between 2-10 kg. What was even more stunning is that 29 people had managed to shed over 15kg, while 5 had lost over 20kg! The total damage to the municipality? 16.82 kilograms of gold worth 2.8 million dirhams ($809,874 USD), which was awarded to the lean winners on November 8th, 2013.

As for the biggest loser? That coveted title went to Syrian born architect, Ahmad Ebrahim-al-Sheikh. The 27-year-old took home 63 grams or about $2,800 USD worth of gold for losing a whopping 27.67 kilos! His secret? A healthy diet and an hour and 45 minutes of exercise, which included climbing the 16 flights of stairs to his apartment every day! The best part is that Ahmad plans to continue his healthy lifestyle - with or without gold!

Resources: news.com.au, thenational.ae,

Listen to the Article:
Critical Thinking Challenge:

What do you think would be a good incentive for kids to make better food choices and become more active?

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147 Comments
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  • drewTuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9:49 am
    this is nice
    • glassburnem
      glassburnemThursday, September 25, 2014 at 10:08 am
      I hope more people do this chalenge this artice was awesome!
      • glassburnem
        glassburnemThursday, September 25, 2014 at 10:07 am
        If you have any junk food replace it with a good amount of protien for example peanut butter,steak,chicken. Also have fruits for example a tomato.
        • blairjt
          blairjtThursday, September 25, 2014 at 9:52 am
          This paragraph is cool. It is very interactive like Skyler said. I think it will be smart to do this in Parker but not just for the gold but for getting in shape.
          • garciacmWednesday, September 17, 2014 at 9:49 am
            this is an interesting paragraph . this paragraph talks about to not eat gunky food and that some contests with wait losing . this paragraph will talk about some good stuff . READ IT!!!!!!
            • mesecnb
              mesecnbTuesday, September 16, 2014 at 9:50 am
              I think I would be in that. I think that is a good idea because a lot of people will loose wait to get gold.
              • sherwinsm
                sherwinsmTuesday, September 16, 2014 at 9:41 am
                A good incentive would be for kids to make exercising fun. For example if girls like stickers put stickers on running shoes or if boys like superheros then they should wear a superhero outfit.
                • aktucker2
                  Ms. TuckerMonday, September 15, 2014 at 9:15 am
                  A good incentive would be for kids to earn badges for when they make good food choices in the cafeteria. The article said kids like to get something when they make good choices.
                  • 10jk
                    10jkTuesday, April 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm
                    I wouldn't lose weight just for gold.
                    • 5nf
                      5nfMonday, March 31, 2014 at 7:37 am
                      who would buy that?

                      Vocabulary

                      designateddirhamsentrantsgrandioseincentivizingmunicipalityobesityskepticismtieredwhopping

                      Geography

                      Dubai, UAESyria

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