Russia: Mining region rewards weight loss with coal

Governor Aman Tuleyev Image copyright ALAMY
Image caption Governor Aman Tuleyev is concerned about obesity rates in Kemerovo

A major Russian mining region is launching a television show to help people lose weight - with participants earning lumps of coal as a reward, it's reported.

The programme, which will be broadcast on a local channel in Siberia's coal-rich Kemerovo region, is a part of the regional government's efforts to raise awareness over the problem of obesity. Governor Aman Tuleyev says he borrowed the idea from the United Arab Emirates, the Business FM radio station reports. "There, people get rewarded in gold for getting slimmer. We will also pay - not in gold coins, but in coal," he says. Dubai launched the "Your Weight in Gold" scheme in 2013, offering a gram of the precious metal for every kilogram in weight a person loses.

Participants in the Kemerovo programme will shed the pounds through sports activities and by trying various diets, according to the head of the region's press service. "In return they will get the wealth of the region - top-grade, high-calorie coal," Anton Gorelkin says. As in Dubai, people will be rewarded for every kilogram of weight lost, although the amount of coal they'll be given hasn't yet been decided. But Mr Gorelkin says there certainly won't be any shortage: "As there is plenty of coal in the world market, I believe there will be no problem with the prize."

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