While Ben Bernanke remains unable to value the precious metal, it seems the Arabs are very capable of discerning at least one relative value. In a fascinating effort to reign in Dubai's growing obesity epidemic, the government is willing to pay its citizens (in gold) for losing weight. For each kilo of excess that is lost, the government will pay 1 gram of gold (around $42). There is no discernment - apparently - in the "Your Weight In Gold" initiative that the weight loss be 'fat' which make us wonder how many would 'give their right arm' for a few ounces of gold?
Dubai's government will pay residents in gold for losing those extra pounds as part of a government campaign to fight growing obesity in the Gulf Arab emirate.
The 30-day weight-loss challenge was launched on Friday to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the faithful refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.
For every kilogram dropped by Aug. 16, contestants who register from Friday can walk away with a gram of gold, currently worth about $42, Dubai's civic authority announced as part of its 'Your Weight in Gold' initiative.
The top three dieters can win gold coins worth up to 20,000 dirhams ($5,400). The contestant has to lose a minimum 2 kgs (4.4 pounds) to qualify for the contest.
Oil wealth and high household incomes have led to overeating, high-sugar diets and a heavy reliance on cars for getting around, leading to an explosion of diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses.
Five of the 10 countries where diabetes is most prevalent are in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), an umbrella organisation of more than 200 national associations.
Child obesity is also a growing problem.
Dubai is known for its larger-than-life offers. It has a history of giving away luxury cars and yachts in lucky draws and is home to one the largest gold markets in the region. The emirate even has gold vending machines in shopping malls.