Weight loss competition will reward more than 7,000 with Dh6 million worth of gold

The campaign ran from July 15 to September 15 and was focused on encouraging healthier eating among children.

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DUBAI // More than 7,000 weight losers who took part in Dubai Municipality’s Your Child in Gold campaign this summer will be awarded their share of 40 kilograms of gold.

The campaign ran from July 15 to September 15 and was focused on encouraging healthier eating among children.

Almost 40kg of gold worth Dh6 million will be given out to winners at a grand closing ceremony next month. The number of successful participants tripled compared with the 2,648 people who shared 16.823kg of gold in 2013.

The competition required participants to shed a minimum of 2kg to be successful. The campaign was open only to children who were classified as obese based on their body mass index.

Dr Najiba Al Shezawi, medical-in-charge of the initiative, said the winners included more than 200 children aged under 13.

“Family members who reduced minimum 2kg of weight would win two grams of gold for each kilo reduced, while the individual participants will get one gram of gold per kilo,” she said.

The aim of the initiative was to tackle the growing problem of obesity.

However, some doctors raised concerns about the potential risks for children under 4 losing 2kg over a month.

They urged a more gradual approach to weight loss involving a more balanced and healthier lifestyle rather than dramatic weight loss.

And despite the campaign’s success, a municipality official said they would be looking at different approaches next year.

“It has been very successful with more than triple the winners compared with 2013,” said Waleed Al Shaibani, the municipality’s club manager and chief coordinator of the campaign.

“In terms of numbers we had more than 28,000 people taking part compared with 9,000 the year before, so it is certainly growing in popularity among residents.

“Although the focus was on children I don’t think we will do that next year. We will look at doing something new.”

The grand closing ceremony will take place at Zabeel Park next month.

“We are working hard to organise a grand closing ceremony for the prize distribution as it requires huge efforts to accommodate 7,350 winners and their families in the venue,” said Mr Al Shaibani.

“There will be attractive programmes and surprises for all during the colourful event which is again expected to be a global hit in the journey of Dubai towards excellence.

“The top winners would be announced during the closing ceremony and the top winner this year has a new record.”

nhanif@thenational.ae