There are two things the United Arab Emirates has a lot of: gold and fat people. They were the eleventh fattest country in 2012, and obesity has become a nation-wide problem, with one in three children in the UAE overweight or obese and at risk of diabetes and hypertension. They also have gold vending machines and you can buy bricks of gold at cute little gold brick kiosks in their airports.
So the municipality of Dubai, a major metropolitan hub in the UAE, decided to solve their fair city's obesity problem with an obvious solution: for every kilo of weight participants of a 30-day challenge lose, they'll receive a gram of gold. That's, like, $20 for every pound lost. The best we ever did in the US was when Whole Foods gave its employees a measly discount on weird tasting tempeh when they reduced their BMIs. Yeah, I'm going to go with gold over cheaper tempeh.
Part of the reason obesity increased at an alarming rate in Gulf states is the sedentary lifestyle associated with living in a straight up barren desert and essentially being shuttled from one air-conditioned building to another. Coupled with the introduction of several American fast food chains, which spread like a crack epidemic, suddenly over half of the UAE became overweight. *Shakes fist at fast food imperialism and also America*
But incentivizing weight loss with gold miiiight maybe not be the best idea. First of all, the challenge is limited to 30 days, with the overall winners being those who lost the most weight. Losing a bunch of weight that fast is always dubious. The top three winners will get roughly FIVE GRAND for losing a bunch of weight. You don't even have to be humiliated on TV to get the gold you like you do on "Biggest Loser." The Director General of Dubai Municipality has also stated that the "weight for gold" challenge is especially appropriate during the month of Ramadan, when fasters can't eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. Speaking from personal experience, fasting during Ramadan usually makes people gain weight, because when you eat a million samosas and then don't eat for twelve hours, your body is all, "Holy shit we're in starvation mode let's store this grease permanently." But also, incentivizing weight loss with gold seems like an unsustainable solution to a much bigger problem. Well, it could be sustainable in Dubai.
Regardless of how hashtag-problematic Dubai's weight-loss methods are, if i were there I'd gobble as much original blend TrimSpa with a side of meth for the grand prize bricks. Do you know how many hot dogs you can buy with a brick of gold? I'd never go hungry again.
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