Italian Town Paying Residents to Lose Weight


For anyone who has ever wondered how Italian women stay so slender despite a steady diet of pasta, take heart – not every Italian is stick-figure thin. Case in point – a northern Italian town is attempting to encourage its residents to lose weight by offering them monetary incentives to shed pounds. Locals will get cash when they lose weight, and more cash if they keep it off. Earlier this month, 30 people had already signed up to take part in the project.

Those who register will get €50 when they reach their target weight. If they maintain their new figure for five months, they’ll get €200 more. The project is not for those who are looking to get rid of a few vanity pounds, however, as each participant must present a doctor’s note proclaiming they are, indeed, overweight. Each person can have the assistance of a dietitian and personal trainer if they desire.

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Rightfully so (in my humble opinion), Wandering Italy surmises that at least part of the blame for the increasing rate of obesity throughout Italy (and Europe in general) – a country which has a history of finding overeating repulsive – lays at the feet of the increased intake of more American-ized junk foods like colas and fast food. Whether this payment-for-weight-loss scheme catches on – or whether it works at all, for that matter – remains to be seen; but it seems that although Italy is doing a good job overall of maintaining its culinary identity, the infiltration of fast food giants like McDonald’s is not going to stop anytime soon.

Photo by: Tanya Koenig