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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141 Comments
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  • 10jk
    10jk4/15/2014
    I wouldn't lose weight just for gold.
    • 5nf
      5nf3/31/2014
      who would buy that?
      • Hi3/23/2014
        Lucky
        • lionsrcute1
          lionsrcute13/22/2014
          Cool
          • neongreen_x11
            That's very cool I wish I was in that city. I would lose all my weight. Lol
            • volt
              volt2/25/2014
              ya know? Isn't it kind of not possible??
              • edmodo-r9nry5pme2
                Awesome
                • pipermc11
                  pipermc1112/15/2013
                  That's fantastic, but I sure wouldn't want to have to climb all of those stairs!
                  • COOL12/14/2013
                    i lost two pounds does that count.
                    • yesman
                      yesman1/27/2014
                      probably does
                    • hummingbird
                      hummingbird12/13/2013
                      That's ridiculous.

                      Vocabulary

                      designateddirhamsentrantsgrandioseincentivizingmunicipalityobesityskepticismtieredwhopping

                      Geography

                      Dubai, UAESyria

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