A couple of weeks ago, Mayor Gianluca Buonanno of Italy’s Varallo Sesia offered a reward of 50 euros to any overweight locals who could drop 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) in one month. If the dieters can keep the weight off for five months, they’ll be awarded an additional 100 euros. Italian Health Minister Livia Turco hopes that other towns will follow this example. According to BBC News:

28 million Italians are overweight—almost half the population—with five million people officially classified as obese.

Apparently, lots of people have already signed up for this weight-loss challenge, but would the same ploy work here in America? Well, Elsa Simcik, a lifestyles columnist for the Dallas Morning News, makes some interesting points in her column about the cost of staying thin. Dropping pounds means eating healthier, but it doesn’t necessarily mean buying less food. Simcik asks:

Should I spring for Corner Bakery or save with McDonald’s dollar menu?

Splurge on organic or go ahead and eat preservative-filled produce? …

And it doesn’t stop with food. Being skinny can add up in other ways. There’s the gigantic gym membership, possibly a personal trainer, Zone meals delivered to your door.

While monetary incentives for weight loss seem like a great idea, the truth is that 50 euros (or $68 and change) is hardly enough to cover a good pair of walking shoes.

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