No, this isn’t the tag line for a fad weight-loss drug. And if it is, I can assure you that it isn’t what I’m talking about here.
Roughly 35% of Italians are overweight or obese, according to EU statistics. Concern about the growing obesity rate is prompting some Italian officials to try and take action on a local level. The government of the town of Varallo, in northwestern Italy, is offering to pay their heavier residents to lose weight. Men who lose 9 pounds in a month will receive 50 euros (approx. $70). Women will make the same amount for losing 7 pounds. If the participants keep the weight off for five months, each will receive an additional 200 euros ($280). The town has a population of about 7,500.
I’ve personally seen the “group diet” strategy work in offices and other small groups, but this is a much larger attempt. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. And for residents of the town, it’s certainly worth a try. 50 euros in exchange for cutting out a few cookies and taking a couple extra walks is not a bad deal!