Trimming Fat To Pack Their Wallets

Residents of the Northern Italian town of Varallo are being offered monetary incentives to loose weight and keep it off. Men will be paid 50 euros ($70) to lose 9 pounds, and women can earn the same amount for losing 7 pounds. If they keep the weight off for 5 months, each group can reap a 200 euro ($280) bonus.

The Bigger Picture: It is estimated that 35% of Italians are overweight or obese (as compared to a 3% obesity rate for Japan's population and 32% for the USA). This figure illustrates the effects of a dramatic shift to processed foods from a traditional Mediterranean diet rich in fish, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and heart-healthy olive oil. Previous research has indicated that people are more likely to be successful with weight loss and maintenance when they have an external motivating factor (like a friendly wager). Hopefully, Varallo's wager that people prefer a stuffed wallet to a slice of stuffed lasagna pays off.
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