Losing weight is as good as gold under a unique slim-down initiative in Dubai over growing concerns about rising obesity levels in the wealthy Gulf city-state.
Municipal officials are offering a gram of gold -- worth about $45 at current prices -- for each kilogram of weight lost in a 30-day challenge. The minimum drop is two kilograms, or 4.4 pounds, to cash in.
Local media Wednesday quotes Dubai official Hussain Lootah as saying there is no limit on the payout for the golden losers, who must sign up and weigh in Friday.
The plan is the latest attempt to encourage healthier lifestyles in the United Arab Emirates. Across the Gulf Arab states, authorities have raised alarms about rising obesity from increasing fast-food diets and lack of exercise.
But, will the plan work?
Research suggests bribing people could actually bring about meaningful weight loss. A March study from the Mayo Clinic found the chance to win or lose $20 per month based on weight loss goals led dieters to drop an average of nine pounds over a year.
The key is keeping this system in place, according to that study's authors.
Incentives are "not like training wheels where people learn healthy habits and then will continue them on their own" -- you have to keep them up for them to work, Dr. Steve Driver of Mayo in Rochester, Minn., told the AP at the time.