Saudi Arabia offers cash prizes to tackle obesity crisis

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is offering cash prizes in a competition aimed at tackling the countries obesity epidemic.

fat saudi

A 610kg (96 stone) Saudi man being removed from his house.

The campaign called “Obesity: The Silence Ghost” has the support of fifty health centres over the kingdom and is asking Saudi citizens to take direct action to lose weight the Saudi Gazette reports.

Dubbed the “hand in hand” approach, the scheme encourages overweight people through direct support, incentives and free medication. Chairman of the initiative, Prince Abdul Rahman has promised the health facilities, each to be given 20 obese people to treat, will receive awards at the end of the programme and for a further 6 months. “These health facilities will use their best qualifications and expertise to provide comprehensive free-of-charge medical treatment to the obese people,” he said.

That’s not all, though. To encourage people to get involved from home, an elimination style TV programme with cash prizes is being launched, following the weight loss efforts of the obesity patients in health centres.

Prince Rahman explains, “In the last month, each health facility will nominate one contender to compete in the weight-loss competition and the winners, who have lost most weight, will receive awards”

Organisers have made it clear that, apart from rewarding those that lose weight, those that don’t shed enough kilos will be ‘eliminated’ from the show. It’s not clear if they will receive further support after this elimination.

Saudi’s obesity problem has grown steadily worse, with the World Health Organisation study ranking the KSA 14th for obesity globally, with 71% of the population rated either ‘overweight’ or ‘obese.